Hong Kong has retained its position as the most expensive location in the world for expats, as a result of higher prices and a stronger currency in 2021, according to the latest research from ECA International. New York and Geneva took the second and third positions, with London and Tokyo following as the fourth and fifth most expensive cities for people working overseas.

While no major cities in the Middle East appeared in the top 20 positions, Chinese cities featured twice in the top 10 – Shanghai in eighth and Guangzhou in ninth slot. Other Chinese cities have risen in the rankings too, with Shenzhen and Beijing now among the 15 most expensive cities globally. Taipei in Taiwan also moved up, taking the last slot in the top 20.

Most EU locations have slipped down the rankings after a troubled period for the euro, with Paris dropping out of the global top 30 and Madrid, Brussels and Rome falling too.

The city which has experienced the fastest rate of price growth in the past year has been the Sri Lanka capital Colombo, which rose 23 places to 149th globally, according to the survey.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s capital Ankara, at 207, was the cheapest city for expats and tourism.

ECA International’s twice-yearly surveys compare a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by expats in over 490 locations worldwide, to assist companies in calculating allowances for employees on assignment abroad.

World’s top 10 most expensive places for expats