New York City tops the list as the world’s most expensive city for expats

New York has overtaken Hong Kong in a league table of the world’s most expensive cities for expats.

The Big Apple took the unwanted title after months of soaring inflation and above-average rent hikes pushed the cost of living ever higher, according to rankings by ECA International.

Hong Kong slipped into second place after coming first in last year’s table, and Geneva, Switzerland, remained in third place this year. London kept its position in fourth while Singapore completed the top five after rising from 13th in 2022.

Other US cities to appear in the top 20 included San Francisco, which was seventh after rising four places since last year. Los Angeles climbed six places to 15th, while Chicago moved up five places to 20th.

The study focused on expenses for expatriates and factored in staples such as rent costs and the price of popular consumer goods, including food.

New York has taken over Hong Kong to claim the unwanted title of the world’s most expensive city for expats. San Francisco made the top ten, while LA and Chicago also made the top 20
New York City has topped yet another table of the most expensive cities in the world, after overtaking Hong Kong in a study led by ECA International which assessed the cost of living
The study looked at rent prices, which have risen in New York, and the cost of staples like food

Announcing its report on Wednesday, ECA said: ‘ECA International has researched the cost of living globally for 50 years. It carries out two main surveys per year to help companies assess living costs around the world as part of salary calculations for cross-border moves.

‘The surveys compare a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by assignees in over 500 locations worldwide, such as coffee, sugar and eggs. ECA’s accommodation data is also factored in, comparing rental costs in areas typically inhabited by expatriate staff in over 430 locations worldwide.

‘According to its latest report, food prices globally have risen by around 15 percent on average in the last year, more than twice the rate of last year.’

Food prices have risen 10 percent in the US since the 2022 report, ECA said.

Hong Kong, which topped the list in 2022, came second after it was overtaken by New York
Geneva, in Switzerland, remained in third, while many other European cities rose up the table

Inflation has slowed in recent months but remains well above the Federal Reserve’s target of 2 percent.

The price of some popular groceries, including eggs, flour and cookies, remains up to a fifth higher than 12 months ago. On the other hand, fuel, gadgets and appliances have defied the trend.

The ECA study found Europe in particular has suffered from rising costs of living, with two-thirds of Eurozone countries climbing up the table.

London aside, other UK cities in the study all dropped in the rankings. 

Steven Kilfedder, Head of Production at ECA International, said: ‘The cost of living crisis in the UK persists, with rising costs driven primarily by food, utilities, and housing prices.

‘Despite these challenges, all UK cities bar London have experienced a decline in the global ranking. This can largely be attributed to the weakness of the pound, which has made the country cheaper for people coming to the UK from other countries.’ 

San Francisco – the second US city on the list – climbed from 11th to seventh place in the table
Los Angeles rose from 21st to 15th, making it the second city in California to appear in the table
Chicago completed the top 20 after rising five place in the table since last year

The war in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion in February 2022 ‘continues to impact the cost of living in the warring countries themselves, the wider region and around the world,’ the ECA report said.

‘Despite Western sanctions, the Russian ruble has rebounded in the past year, pushing Moscow up 37 places to become the 25th most expensive location in the world.’

Next week, the US government will publish its latest monthly updates on inflation and the Federal Reserve will meet on interest-rate policy.

The bet on Wall Street is that the Fed may hold off on hiking rates, which would be the first time that’s happened in more than a year, but could resume raising rates in July.

A breakdown of inflation data by in May revealed that while the price of certain groceries such as eggs is still extremely high, tech products have defied inflation
The central bank has raised key interest rates by 5 percentage points since March 2022 in response to out-of-control inflation, which is started to cool in recent months

Investors are watching to see which will happen first: a recession or inflation falling enough to get the Fed to start cutting interest rates, which have climbed so high they’ve hurt various parts of the economy.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Wednesday that the national economy is strong thanks to robust consumer spending.

Yellen said that legislation to lift the debt ceiling and reduce U.S. deficits by more than $1 trillion over a decade would support the Federal Reserve’s efforts to bring down inflation.

‘My overall read is that the level of capital and liquidity in the banking system is strong and while there will be some pain associated with this, that banks should be able to handle the strain,’ she said.

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