Expatriate life: New studies see costs of living rising.

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A variety of studies about the living costs for expatriates have emerged in the last weeks. While they differ slightly in the ranking of cities, they agree that living costs are rising close to everywhere.
Consulting firm Mercer ranks Tokyo, Luanda, Osaka, Moscow and Geneva as the cities with the highest costs of living worldwide whilst Baku, Victoria in the Seychelles and Dakar are the cheapest places to live within the top 50. Mercer uses New York City as its benchmark and measures cost shifts against the US$. In general, cities in Asia and Australia have become more expensive, an effect also caused by a strengthening of the currencies in this region. ECA Consulting published a similar study and probably due to the similarity in methodology the results do not differ dramatically. In particular Japanese and Chinese cities moved up or kept their high ranking. With regard to Brazil both studies confirm the strong differences between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro as costly with the remainder of the country is comparably cheap.
The studies serve as a basis for remuneration packages and their adjustments for potential expatriates. They share the problem of focusing on expatriate life with minimal adjustments to local conditions. Consequently, prices on housing, clothing and food items are often inflated. However, expats ready to become locals for a while will be able to get along cheaper.