Oslo Is World’s Most Expensive Expat Destination


Devaluing the Yen has knocked Tokyo, Japan, off the top spot as the most expensive destination for expats – with Oslo, Norway, now heading the list.

The top five most costly places for expats to live include some surprising locations as between Oslo and Tokyo come:

  • Luanda, Angola – where items on expat shopping lists are scarce and expensive
  • Stavanger, Norway
  • Juba, South Sudan
  • Moscow, Russia

The figures come from a global survey by consulting firm ECA International. The research gives international companies a benchmark for setting overseas allowances for expat workers.

Inflation, currency exchange rates, availability of goods expats want to buy  and rents all impact on the cost of living for overseas workers.

African cities compared

“Tokyo may have dropped a few places, but it’s still not a cheap place to live,” said ECA Asian director Lee Quane.

“The value of the Yen falling against other currencies is definitely behind the drop and expat buying power has improved. Let’s not get carried away with the figures. Tokyo is still an expensive location and remains the most expensive destination for expats in Asia.”

Indeed, four of Asia’s most expensive cities are in Japan. Making up the top 10 for Asia are Seoul, South Korea; Singapore, and the Chinese cities of Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.

Four of the world’s top 20 most costly places to live for expats are in Africa – joining Luanda and Juba are Brazzaville(18)  and Kinshasha (19). The South African cities of Durban (253) and Cape Town (251) are much less expensive.

India remains one of the cheapest expat locations with New Delhi (200) and Mumbai (215) ranking low globally. Karachi, Pakistan, came in at 256th and was the cheapest of all Asian cities.

Round the world rankings

In Europe, Norway’s oil riches and strong Krone were cited for making g the nation the most expensive for expats worldwide.

Many other European destinations were a lot more reasonably priced due to weakening Sterling and the Eurozone debt crisis.

For instance, London ranked 87 out of 400 cities. Chisinau (225), Moldova, was the cheapest city in Europe.

In the Middle East, Tel Aviv (37), Israel, was most expensive, while Dubai, United Arab Emirates, ranked 174th worldwide.

Caracas (33), Venezuela, topped out the North and South American rankings, with New York (43), USA, and Vancouver (51), Canada, grabbing second and third places. Rio de Janeiro (52), Brazil, was next.

Sydney (17), headed the Australian rankings, followed by Canberra (23).

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