Caracas is the cheapest and most expensive city for expats at the same time due to a quirk in foreign currency exchange rates.
The Venezuelan capital has a fixed exchange rate for locals and a second exchange rate for importers aimed at encouraging an inflow of foreign currency – especially US dollars.
According to a worldwide survey of expats, when the official exchange rate is applied, the bolivar is hugely overvalued and the cost of living soars, but when the second rate is applied, prices plunge and Caracas is then the cheapest city for expats.
“Companies with expat staff in Caracas need to consider which rate to use,” said a spokesman for ECA International, the expat benefits firm producing the report.
“The decision rests on the company and the individual, but the second rate offers much better value.”
Pay for international workers
The study is published twice a year to help companies calculate living allowances for their international workers in 440 global cities.
The final figure is based on a basket of goods and services, such as food, utilities and other day-to-day living costs. Rents, schooling and the cost of buying a car are not included as other allowances are generally paid to cover them.
Manhattan, New York, is the second most expensive place for expats in the Americas, says the report.
Elsewhere, Oslo tops the league in Europe and Seoul, South Korea, is the most expensive place for expats in the Asia Pacific.
In the Middle East, Tel Aviv, Israel, leads the way. Luanda, Angola, is the second most expensive location in the world – and the most expensive in Africa.
|Top 50 most expensive cities for expats|
|13||Kinshasa||Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|28||Hong Kong||Hong Kong|
|30||Port Moresby||Papua New Guinea|
|40||Manhattan (New York)||United States of America|
|Source: ECA International|