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S'pore may have priciest beer in Asia, but is not priciest city

Publication Date : 06-12-2013


Expatriates and other bar goers in Singapore might want to think twice the next time they head out of the office to their favourite bar.

At US$13.47 for half a litre, beers bought at a bar here cost the most in Asia - some 40 per cent more than in Tokyo, Asia's most expensive expat city.

Singapore is far from the most expensive city for expats in Asia, but it is moving up the ranks in global terms, according to the latest Cost Of Living Survey by ECA International, an information provider on personnel posted around the globe.

Singapore moved up a notch from last year to be the 30th most expensive location in the world for expats this year.

In Asia though, it slipped one spot to ninth place.

For the first time in three years, Hong Kong is now deemed more expensive than Singapore, but that is largely owing to a weakening Singapore dollar against the US dollar to which the Hong Kong currency is pegged.

"As in many parts of the world, Singapore saw a slowdown in price rises this year," said Lee Quane, ECA International's regional director, in a statement.

"Actions previously taken to temper rapidly rising prices in Singapore included careful management of the dollar by the MAS," he said.

"However, as inflation fell, the dollar has been allowed to weaken a little."

Singapore is also well up the rankings compared to other expat hot spots in South-east Asia, such as Bangkok in 26th place in Asia, Jakarta, 27th, and Kuala Lumpur, 30th.

While Tokyo is deemed the most costly location in Asia, on a global scale it fell to 10th place, owing to the weaker yen. This is a marked shift from last year, when it turned up as the most expensive city in the world for expatriates.

"Companies that need to locate staff into Japan can now do so for considerably less than in recent years, despite the long period of deflation in the country being reversed earlier this year," said the statement.

After Japan, some of the biggest falls in living costs in Asia were noticed in Indonesia - also partly as a result of a weaker currency. Jakarta fell three places in the regional ranking to 27th and dropped 45 spots to 172nd place globally.

Beijing is now Asia's second- most expensive location after Tokyo, up from fifth last year. Globally, the Chinese capital is the 15th most expensive city for expats. Karachi remains the cheapest location surveyed in Asia.

The cost of living survey was based on the prices of goods and services commonly purchased by expatriates and is carried out twice a year. The latest survey was done in September in 440 locations worldwide.


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