The spending power of expats living in the European Union is improving due to a steady weakening euro.
In the past year, 11 eurozone cities have dropped out of the top 100 most expensive places to live for expats, a global cost of living survey by benefits firm ECA International has revealed.
The European cities swapped out on the rankings with 15 from America taking their place – and where Europe had more than 30 cities in the top 100 last year, this has shrunk to 20, while America has seen a rise to taking 25 places.
And while London is ahead of many Eurozone cities, such as Milan in Italy, Rotterdam and Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Toulouse in France and German cities such as Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt, the British capital only ranks 106thin the world.
Difficult year for euro
Steven Kilfedder, production manager for ECA International, said: “The euro has suffered a difficult 12 months compared to other major currencies, causing nearly all European cities to drop in the cost of living rankings. The only European locations that buck this trend were cities in the UK and some in Eastern European locations that were unaffected by the poor performance of the euro.
“As the US dollar gains strength against the euro, most Europeans will find general basket goods more expensive in the USA this year such as a loaf of bread costing around £3.70 in New York City versus £1.18 in London, for example.”
The city with the most expensive cost of living for expats is Ashgabat in Turkmenistan.
Known for huge white marble monuments dominating the streets on a sweeping scale, with many built since an earthquake devastated the city in 1948.
Ashgabat world’s most expensive city
With a population of 1 million, Ashgabat offers thousands of civil service jobs as the country’s administrative centre.
Ashgabat surged 110 places up the table to top spot this year.
“Although the rise of Ashgabat in the rankings may be a surprise to some, those familiar with the economic and currency issues experienced by Turkmenistan over the past few years may have seen this coming,” said Kilfedder.
“Ever-escalating levels of inflation, coupled with a prominent illegal black market for foreign currencies pushing up the cost of imports, mean that at the official exchange rate, costs for visitors to the capital city Ashgabat have increased enormously – putting it firmly at the top of the rankings.”