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Appreciating rupee hurts expatriates

Special Correspondent

7 Indian cities have become more expensive


Seoul is the costliest city in Asia

ECA International has prepared the survey


NEW DELHI: The rising rupee, coupled with the country’s rapid economic growth, has rendered Indian cities more expensive for expatriates this year. Though as yet cheaper when compared to other leading cities in Asia such as Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore, the seven Indian cities — Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune and Bangalore — have all moved up by 14-21 ranks in the latest survey prepared by ECA International, the Hong Kong-based solution provider for global HR professionals.

Referring to the survey titled ‘Worldwide Cost of Living Ranking 2007’, an ECA statement said: “The region’s most notable changes have been in India where fast economic growth has pushed up the cost of many goods and services. This, coupled with the appreciation of the rupee against most major currencies, has made Indian locations significantly more expensive for expatriates.”

While Mumbai and New Delhi have risen by 14 and 16 notches to 177th and 178th ranks, respectively, Hyderabad has moved up 21 slots to 189. Bangalore has also gone up 15 places to the 205th position, moving away for the first time from the bottom five in the ranking.

Chennai is placed at the 186th position while Kolkata is at 193rd followed by Pune at 194th.

Topping the survey rankings in Asia is South Korea’s Seoul as the costliest city for expats, followed by Japan’s Tokyo, Yokohama and Kobe at the second, third and fourth position, respectively. Making up the top 10 costliest Asian cities are Hong Kong (fifth), Taipei (sixth), Beijing (seventh), Shanghai (eighth), Singapore (ninth) and Guangzhou in China (10th).

As for the Asian rankings for Indian cities, Mumbai and Delhi occupy the 24th and 25th positions while Chennai comes at the 27th place followed by Hyderabad (28th), Kolkata (30th) and Pune (31st).

Interestingly, Bangalore at 37th position has the least cost of living among Asian cities, followed by Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo (38th) and Pakistan’s capital Islamabad (39).

For expatriates, the living costs are affected by inflation, availability of goods and exchange rates, all of which can have a significant impact on expatriate remuneration packages, the statement said. Globally, the most expensive city for expatriates is Luanda in Angola, followed by Norwegian capital of Oslo, Moscow, Stavanger (Norway) and Copenhagen (Denmark).

The survey is based on comparison of a basket of 128 consumer goods and services commonly purchased by expatriates in over 300 locations worldwide.

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