Hanoi, Saigon among 49 most costly places for expats in Asia: survey

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Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have been ranked 41st and 43rd respectively among the 49 most expensive cities for expatriates to live in Asia, according to a new survey by the consulting firm ECA International.

ECA's Cost of Living Survey is carried out biannually in March and September by measuring a basket of common items purchased by expatriates in more than 400 locations globally, such as dairy, produce, clothing and dining out.

The survey does not include housing, utilities, car and school expenses as these costs are offset by other factors, the firm said.

According to the survey, the last 12 months have seen considerable increases in the cost of food, oil and other commodities in many parts of the world.

In Asia, some of the biggest increases for items in ECA's basket of goods and services have been witnessed in Bangladesh (15 percent), Vietnam (14.2 percent) and India (13.3 percent). On average, prices have risen by just over 8 percent in Asia.

"While, in locations like Singapore, price inflation has worked alongside exchange rate movements to push a location up the cost of living ranking, in other cases currency fluctuations are still outweighing the impact of inflation," explains Lee Quane, ECA International's regional director.

The survey showed Japanese cities occupied the top four most expensive locations in Asia, with Tokyo ranked first followed by Nagoya, Yokohama and Kobe.

Rounding out Asia's top ten list of most expensive locations are Seoul in fifth place, followed by Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Busan.

While living costs have risen by more than 8 percent on average in Asia, this has not diminished the appeal of the region to foreign companies, ECA International said.

"People still want to move here, companies still want to expand their operations here," Quane said.

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