- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 11, 2009


London dropped out of the world’s top 10 most-expensive cities for expatriates for the first time since 2001, sliding to 16th place from third, as the British pound and rental rates slumped. Tokyo replaced Moscow as the most-expensive city for foreigners and Osaka moved to No. 2 after the yen strengthened against the U.S. dollar, according to Mercer LLC’s Cost of Living Survey. The Russian capital, which had held the top spot since 2006, slipped to third.

“Many currencies, including the euro and British pound, have weakened considerably against a strong U.S. dollar, causing a number of European cities to plummet in the rankings,” said Nathalie Constantin-Metral, a senior researcher at Mercer, the human resources consulting unit of Marsh & McLennan Cos.

London fell to one place below Caracas, Venezuela, which jumped from 89th. New York rose to eighth from 22nd, making it the only city in the Americas to be in the top 10.

The British pound has fallen 18 percent against the dollar in the past year, while the yen has strengthened 12 percent.

Five of the top 10 are in Asia, with Beijing climbing 11 places to ninth spot, one above Singapore, which rose from 13th. Hong Kong gained one place to fifth.

Rounding out the top 10 are Geneva in fourth, Zurich in sixth and Copenhagen in seventh.

The annual survey covers 143 cities and uses New York City as a benchmark for comparing the prices of more than 200 items, including housing, food, transportation and entertainment. The analysis is conducted by Mercer to help multinational companies gauge pay rates for international employees.

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