World's most expensive cities for foreign workers

For the first time ever, the world's most expensive city for international workers is Caracas, Venezuela, edging out even notoriously costly Tokyo and Oslo, Norway.

So reports ECA International, a company that specializes in employment conditions abroad.

Companies contract with ECA International to determine cost-of-living allowances for their expatriate employees. The biannual report compares, across hundreds of cities, a "basket" of consumer goods and services including groceries, clothes, electronics, gasoline costs and restaurant meals. (The basket does not include apartment/house rentals, utilities, school fees or auto purchases, because companies usually compensate expatriates separately for those.)

Rampant inflation pushed Caracas from No. 7 in the fall of last year all the way to the top of the list this fall: You can expect to pay the American equivalent of $3.04 for a can of soda, $7.28 for a dozen eggs, and $46.03 for a "quick lunch." Prices have shot up more than 60 percent compared with the same time last year for the same basket of goods and services.

In the United States, we're accustomed to thinking of New York City as expensive -- and of course it is, factoring in real estate. But based only on consumer goods and services, it doesn't even crack the top 30 internationally.

No U.S. city does.

On the other hand, Switzerland and Norway account for a whopping six out of the top 10 cities. Two cities in Africa, along with Caracas and Tokyo, round out the top 10.

These are the world's most expensive cities for workers from abroad:

Country

Location

Global rank in 2013

Global rank in 2012

Venezuela

Caracas

1

7

Angola

Luanda

2

4

Norway

Oslo

3

3

South Sudan

Juba

4

14

Norway

Stavanger

5

8

Switzerland

Zurich

6

9

Switzerland

Geneva

7

10

Switzerland

Bern

8

11

Switzerland

Basel

9

12

Japan

Tokyo

10

1

Denmark

Copenhagen

11

17

Russia

Moscow

12

15

Congo

Brazzaville

13

29

Finland

Helsinki

14

28

China

Beijing

15

21

Japan

Nagoya

16

2

Gabon

Libreville

17

30

China

Shanghai

18

25

Sweden

Stockholm

19

19

Japan

Yokohama

20

5

Korea Republic

Seoul

21

22

Congo

Pointe Noire

22

33

Japan

Osaka

23

6

Israel

Tel Aviv

24

46

Papua New Guinea

Port Moresby

25

13

Sweden

Gothenburg

26

34

Israel

Jerusalem

27

54

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

28

32

France

Paris

29

43

Singapore

Singapore

30

31

Australia

Sydney

31

16

Azerbaijan

Baku

32

40

United States of America

Manhattan

33

37

Senegal

Dakar

34

49

Germany

Berlin

35

52

Nigeria

Abuja

36

35

Nigeria

Lagos

37

39

China

Guangzhou

38

57

Australia

Canberra

39

18

China

Shenzhen

40

61

Korea Republic

Busan

41

53

Russia

St Petersburg

42

45

Guinea

Conakry

43

97

Chad

N'Djamena

44

71

Australia

Melbourne

45

23

Australia

Adelaide

46

20

Australia

Perth

47

24

Belgium

Brussels

48

63

United States of America

Honolulu

49

51

United States of America

New York City (overall)

50

50

 

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