$8 Coffee! 10 Costliest Cities for Expats

The life of an expat can often seem glamorous with the appeal of living abroad in a different culture, but it has its downsides, too. Mainly, how much it can cost to live.

Consulting firm Mercer released the initial findings from its 21st annual cost-of-living survey, which compares data from 207 cities over five continents and is based on answers and exchange rates from March. The survey measures costs of more than 200 items in such categories as housing, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

Topping this year’s list of the priciest places to live are the following 10 Asian, European, and African cities, determined using New York City as the base city for comparison.

“Japanese cities have continued to drop in the ranking this year as a result of the Japanese yen weakening against the US dollar,” said Nathalie Constantin-Metral, a principal at Mercer who worked on compiling the survey ranking. “However, Chinese cities jumped in the ranking due to the strengthening of the Chinese yuan along with the high costs of expatriate consumer goods.”

Note: For each of the following cities, the apartment and house rental costs given are per month, and they are specified to be residences “of international standards, in an appropriate neighborhood.” Other prices given refer to purchases at medium-priced establishments.

10. N’DJAMENA, CHAD

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: n/a
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $2,252.12
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $2.60
  • Fast food hamburger meal*: $21.65

Ranked as the second costliest city in 2014, this year the capital city of Chad is number 10. For this city, there was no data available for the price of an international release cinema ticket, a fast food meal or a pair of jeans.

*In absence of comparable fast food meals in N’Djamena, the cost of a club sandwich and soda meal was included.

9. BERN, SWITZERLAND

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $2,463.73
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: n/a
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $4.82
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $13.93

Switzerland’s fourth most populous city is also the federal city, being home to the Swiss parliament and government. One seat at an international release movie in Bern costs $19.28.

8. SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $3,494.86
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $6,808.16
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $6.17
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $5.90

The capital and largest city in South Korea, Seoul, is the first of five Asian cities in this list. It ranked 14th place last year.

7. BEIJING

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $3,576.54
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $5,283.52
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $7.32
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $4.71

The capital of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing is one of the most populous cities in the world and the center of most of the country’s largest state-owned companies. Beijing was number 11 in 2014.

6. SHANGHAI

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $4,064.24
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $6,502.79
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $6.50
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $4.71

Shanghai has China’s highest urban population. One liter of soda costs just 81 cents, but that doesn’t offset those rents.

5. GENEVA

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $3,749.15
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $6,212.88
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $4.82
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $13.93

Switzerland’s second most populous city bumped up from sixth priciest city in 2014’s ranking. Many international organizations have offices there, including the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

4. SINGAPORE

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $3,246.75
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $6,936.25
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $4.35
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $6.20

Retaining its 2014 spot as the fourth priciest, Southeast Asia’s Singapore is the site of the fourth largest financial center and one of the globe’s top shipping ports.

3. ZURICH, SWITZERLAND

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $3,963.39
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $5,891.52
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $6.96
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $13.93

Marking Switzerland’s third appearance in the costliest list for 2015, Zurich is a major financial center and the largest Swiss city. It ranked fifth last year.

2. HONG KONG

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $6,576.26
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $11.863.06
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $7.80
  • Fast food hamburger meal: $4.75

This densely populated special administrative region on China’s southern coast is a trade hub and one of the world’s top financial centers. It will run expats $3.95 for a liter of pasteurized whole milk (above 2.5 percent milk fat) in the special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China.

1. LUANDA, ANGOLA

  • Rent of a two bedroom apartment: $6,800
  • Rent of a three bedroom unfurnished house: $15.800
  • One cup of coffee, including service: $4.76
  • Fast food hamburger meal*: $17.14

Topping out the list for the third year straight is Luanda, a relatively inexpensive place by some measures–the cost to see an international release film is $11.90, and one liter of soda is $1.99. However, what’s driving up the cost of living is the prices of imported goods—a pair of blue jeans runs $247.53—and the cost of living in safe conditions.

*In absence of comparable fast food meals in Luanda, the cost of a club sandwich and soda meal was included.

Written by Colleen Kane of CNBC

(Source: CNBC)

World Markets Suddenly Facing a Summer of Trouble and Strife

© Provided by CNBC
© Provided by CNBC

It’s approaching that time of year when market activity typically slows, as traders and central bankers alike depart for long holidays.

But this summer is shaping up to be anything but quiet for markets, with Greece at a cross roads, stocks in China nose diving and rising uncertainty about the timing of a U.S. interest rate rise.

“Summers are always difficult in the markets, but every summer turns out to be interesting and there’s so much going on this summer,” Bill Blain, a strategist at Mint Partners in London, told CNBC on Friday.

While the crisis in Greece, which holds a referendum this Sunday on whether or not to accept creditor-proposed bailout terms, is likely to be the trigger for near-term volatility, markets have much bigger fish to fry in the weeks to ahead.

Take for instance the slide in Chinese stock markets, which is fuelling concerns about the outlook for the world’s second biggest economy.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite index, which had risen as much as 113 percent between November and a peak in June, has collapsed, sliding almost 30 percent.

“It’s not Greece but China we should be concerned about,” said Blain. “The correction that we’re seeing in stocks is fascinating and the fact that the authorities are clearly nervous should make markets nervous,” he said, referring to measures taken this week by Beijing to shore up the battered equity market.

Fed up with Fed?

Analysts said uncertainty about the timing of a rise in U.S. interest rates was another key reason to keep traders on edge over the summer months, with Thursday’s softer-than-expected June jobs data prompting a re-think on the rate outlook.

“I think the biggest risk is not so much Greece; not so much China (stocks), which is in a dramatic move but is pretty localised, I think it is the Fed and the U.S. economy,” Giles Keating, the global head of research for private banking and wealth management at Credit Suisse, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Friday.

The timing of the Fed’s first rate hike since 2006 and the pace of subsequent monetary tightening is viewed as one of the biggest risks to global markets – from emerging markets, which are seen among the most vulnerable to a rise in risk aversion, to bond markets, which have already seen heavy selling.

Slim Feriani, CEO of MENA Capital, said that while Greece was a concern, Fed policy was a bigger worry for markets.

“The bigger cloud hanging over markets in general in the next 6-12 months is the Fed and what they do and when,” he said from a fund forum in Monaco earlier this week.

Blain at Mint Partners said there was no reason for the Fed to hike rates soon, as there was no pressure on the economy yet. He suggested that “perhaps a lot of the stock market upside has been overdone.”

The tech-heavy Nasdaq  (.IXIC) hit a record high in June, while the broader S&P 500  (.SPX) closed at about 2,077 points on Thursday – about 2.5 percent off a record high hit in May.

Uncertainty surrounding Greece meanwhile is unlikely to go away, with Sunday’s shock referendum suggesting the country will remain a source of market volatility in the weeks ahead, analysts said.

Greece this week became the first advanced economy to default on a loan from the International Monetary Fund and its worsening financial crisis has fuelled fears that it will become the first country to leave the euro zone.

If Greek voters back the creditors’ bailout plan—which the anti-austerity government has recommended they reject—Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has made it clear he will quit.

“There is a view that we’re going to get this referendum result on Monday morning and that will explain everything,” Blain said.

“All the referendum will do is start the next phase of negotiations and the crisis continues. If we get a ‘yes’ vote, we could be dealing with a new government as it looks inevitable the government could fall — so there lots of things for markets to worry about.”

Written by Dhara Ranasinghe of CNBC

(Source: CNBC)