Amid the bustle and blight, Metro Manila becoming pricey for expats
Despite its many qualities, both good and bad, that endear the metropolis to foreigners, Metro Manila is fast becoming a costlier place for expatriates to live in.
Based on global consultancy firm Mercer’s 2019 Cost of Living Survey, eight out of the top 10 of the world’s most expensive cities for expats are Asian cities. The high cost of living was mostly driven by high-cost consumer goods for expats and a dynamic housing market.
Manila ranked 109th of 209 cities surveyed, yet it went up 29 spots from the last study, thus posting the fourth sharpest climb in the world.
“While the Philippines’ robust economic growth continues to attract talent, business and investments from all over the world, the findings of Mercer’s 2019 Cost of Living study should signal its public and private sectors to take a deeper look and start a conversation on which factors are behind the dramatic increase in its cost of living from 2018 to 2019, and how they can be addressed or mitigated to ensure the country’s continued competitiveness,” said Mario Ferraro, mobility leader for Asia, Middle East, Africa and Turkey at Mercer.
The costliest for the second consecutive year was Hong Kong. Other expensive cities in the Asian region are Tokyo (second), Singapore (third), Seoul (fourth), Shanghai (sixth), Beijing (eighth) and Shenzhen (10th).
In populous India, Mumbai (67th) was the most expensive city, followed by New Delhi (118th) and Chennai (154th). Bengaluru (179th) and Kolkata (189th) were the least expensive Indian cities.
Elsewhere in Asia, Bangkok (40th) jumped by 12 places from last year. Hanoi (112th) and Jakarta (105th) also rose in the ranking, up by 25 and 12 spots, respectively.
Meanwhile, only one European city is in the top 10 list, which is Zurich at fifth place.
“Despite moderate price increases in most of the European cities, European currencies have weakened against the US dollar, which pushed most cities down in the ranking,” said Yvonne Traber, global mobility product solutions leader at Mercer. “Additionally, other factors like recent security issues and concern about the economic outlook, have impacted the region.”
In a rapidly changing world, mobility programs have become a core component of multinational organizations’ global talent strategy. Organizations realize that to thrive, they must embrace change, adapt to new technologies and build emerging skills to attract, motivate and enhance talent.
The survey cited a number of factors, including currency fluctuations, cost of inflation for goods and services, and volatility in accommodation prices, that have contributed to the overall cost of expat packages for employees on international assignments.
The survey also found the world’s least expensive cities for expats were Tunis, Tashkent and Karachi.
New York City is used as the base city for all comparisons, and currency movements are measured against the US dollar.
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