Mercer's 2009 Cost of Living survey highlights - Global
Tokyo knocks Moscow off the top spot as the most expensive city for expatriates; Johannesburg is the cheapestAsian and European cities dominate the top 10Significant currency fluctuations and strengthening of dollar cause major reshuffle in the rankingLondon drops 13 places to rank 16, New York joins the top 10 listMercer's Cost of Living survey covers 143 cities across six continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. It is the world’s most comprehensive cost of living survey and is used to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowance for their expatriate employees. In Mercer’s survey, New York is used as the base city for the index and scores 100 points, all cities are compared against New York and currency movements are measured against the US dollar. Tokyo scores 143.7 points and is nearly three times as costly as Johannesburg with an index score of 49.6.” Milan 96.9 (11), London 92.7 (16), Rome 91.2 (18), Madrid 82.3 (37)(Figures in brackets are current year’s rankings)www.mercer.com/costoflivingpr#Top_50 Living both in the London and in Tuscany I have noticed how, because of currency movements, how expensive Italy has become. Of course I am using Sterling as my base for comparison. London has moved from the third most expensive city in the world in 2008 to the 16th most expensive in 2009, because of currency movements. The most noticeable difference I have found is the price of eating out. In central London, for example I pay £1.50 for a small glass of draft beer, in my Tuscan village I pay 3 Euro. Chicken and chips in my Tuscan village is €7.50: London less than £5. My Italian friends and neighbours are very happy: they now go more often to London! Madrid seems very reasonable: I have been to Barcelona and loved it: prices were reasonable in the Tapas bars and the food was exquisite. I should check out Madrid! Rome is less expensive than Milan, which is more expensive than London. I heard a couple of weeks ago on the news (Sky Italia) that the north of Italy is 16% more expensive than the south. Currency movements mean that people in the “Eurozone” on a fixed Sterling income take a big hit. Italians in the UK with a Euro income are better off. Property owners in Italy who are selling now and converting the money into Euro make a good Forex gain, for example selling a flat at €200k and converting it into £ at 1.15 €/£ would yield £173,917. Before at €1.40 to the Pound the Sterling yield would have been £142,857: (21%) difference. Obviously buying with Sterling is 21% more expensive.