Moscow tops expensive cities list

Moscow is this year's most expensive city in the world for expatriate staff, a study released Monday by British human resources firm Mercer HR suggests.

Seoul was in the second place, followed by Tokyo which topped the list in 2005, when the Russian capital was in fourth position then Hong Kong and London. The cheapest city was Paraguay's capital Asuncion.

The findings which use New York as the benchmark were based on prices for 200 goods and services, notably housing, transport, food, clothing and entertainment.

Moscow, found to be 23.9 percent more expensive than New York, reached the summit on account of soaring rents, but most other cities changed position "due to foreign exchange fluctuations," Mercer HR said.

Kiev zoomed for 54th position last year to 21, for instance, due to the appreciation of Ukraine's currency against the dollar as well as local price increases.

Other cities where the cost of living for foreign workers has risen are in countries which have profited from rising oil prices. These include Dubai, Lagos and Oslo.

"For many companies, it can now be more expensive to send employees to work in Russia or Korea than places like Japan or Switzerland, which are often perceived to be more costly," Mercer senior consultant Rebecca Powers said.


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