Seoul is the fifth most expensive city in the world for expats, according to an annual cost of living report produced by global consulting firm Mercer.
Mercer Korea said on June 26 that Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates. Tokyo came in second place, Zurich third, Singapore fourth and Seoul fifth.
Asian cities lead the global list when it comes to the cost of living for expatriates by taking eight of the top 15 spots in Mercer's annual ranking like last year. Four Chinese cities made the top 15 – Shanghai seventh, Beijing ninth, Shenzhen 12th and Guangzhou in 15th place.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s Osaka moved down three spots from No. 20 to No. 23. Mumbai (55) is India's most expensive city. Thailand’s Bangkok moved down 15 places to No. 51, while Vietnam’s Hanoi dropped 37 spots to No. 137.
US cities also fell in the ranking due to the depreciation of the US dollar against other major currencies worldwide. New York dropped four places to No. 13 globally, San Francisco seven places to No. 28, Los Angeles 12 places to No. 35 and Chicago 20 places to No. 51.
Overall, Western European cities rose in the rankings, due mainly to the strengthening of local currencies against the US dollar and the cost of goods and services. Germany’s Frankfurt and Berlin jumped 49 spots to No. 68 and No. 71, respectively, showing the highest rise.
In the Middle East, Dubai dropped seven spots to No. 26 and Abu Dhabi 18 spots to No. 40 compared to last year due to the fall in rents across the region.
Mercer’s annual cost of living survey includes 209 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.