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The Economist Intelligence Unit’s semiannual survey of prices in the world’s major metropolises helps managers understand the costs of living overseas so they can devise appropriate relocation and compensation packages for expatriate employees. The survey reports real prices that residents in 140 cities across 93 countries pay for food, transport, clothing and other daily essentials, as well as for discretionary items, such as entertainment. A US dollar-pegged index enables city-to-city comparisons and ranks places from the most expensive to the least. getAbstract recommends this succinct but illuminating overview of the survey’s results to human resources professionals and to current and future expatriate executives.


Singapore has grabbed the top spot as the world’s most expensive city. Since 2004, when it ranked 18th overall, the city-state has seen prices climb due to inflation and a 40% appreciation of its currency. Several factors contribute to its elevated cost of living: High auto registration fees drive transportation costs to three times those of New York City. Singapore has to import water and power, making its utilities the third costliest in the world. It also boasts the highest clothing prices, partly due to consumers’ demand for imported luxury items. Singapore...

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The Economist Intelligence Unit is an independent research and analysis organization.

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