Tokyo Tops Expensive Cities List

Tuesday, June 27th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) — Asia remains the most expensive part of the world for foreign workers, with Tokyo once more atop the list, according to a study released Monday.

While U.S. cities moved up sharply in the rankings, none made the top 10.

Tokyo is 65 percent more expensive to live in than New York, which serves as the base for the index compiled by William M. Mercer Cos., a human resources firm.

International corporations use these figures to adjust the pay that employees receive when they are sent overseas, said Laurie Sinden, a Mercer consultant.

New York, ranked 13th on the list, is the most expensive city in the United States, moving up from 16th in 1999. Also moving up were San Francisco, to 31st from 58th a year earlier; Los Angeles, to 34th from 60th; Chicago, to 36th from 53rd; and Honolulu, to 39th from 62nd.

The survey calculates cost of living based on more than 200 items including food, clothing, automobiles, entertainment costs and housing.

The list is based on the prices an expatriate would pay for goods and services to maintain a high standard of living, Sinden said.

``When an expat goes to a city in China, for example, they're not shopping at a store where just locals would shop,'' Sinden said. ``They're going to be going to more of a select type of shop.''

One city that jumped significantly is Sydney, Australia, ranked 58th on this year's survey compared to 89th in 1999. The increase may result from heavy demand for housing and other services connected to the Olympic Games in September, said Sinden.

After Tokyo, the top 10 is made up of Osaka, Japan; Hong Kong; Beijing; Moscow; Shanghai, China; Seoul, South Korea; St. Petersburg, Russia; Guangzhou, China; and London.

The survey found that the gap between expensive an inexpensive cities is shrinking. Tokyo is 414 percent more expensive than Quito, Ecuador, the least expensive city on the list. That gap has narrowed by 7.6 percent since September 1998.