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HCMC moves up, Hanoi down in expensive cities for expats list

By Minh Nga   June 12, 2020 | 04:54 pm PT
HCMC moves up, Hanoi down in expensive cities for expats list
A group of foreigners attend the 2020 New Year celebration in downtown Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
Ho Chi Minh City edged up nine places in a global ranking of the most expensive places for expatriates in 2020, while Hanoi moved down four places.

In Mercer’s 2020 Cost of Living Survey released this week, the southern metro moved from 120th most expensive last year to 111th now.

Hanoi fell to 116th from 112th.

The survey by the American human resources consulting firm is designed to help multinational companies and governments understand how expensive cities are to live in for their expatriate employees, and determine payment and compensation strategies.

New York is used as the base city for comparisons and currency movements are measured against the U.S. dollar.

The survey did not reveal average living costs in each city. But according to global database Numbeo, life in Hanoi costs a person VND10.61 million ($455.40) a month (without rent), and in HCMC VND10.58 million ($454).

Hong Kong topped the Mercer list for a third consecutive year followed by Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan.

Tokyo and Zurich arrived in third and fourth places, Singapore fell two places to fifth and New York moved up three places to sixth.

The world’s least expensive cities were Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, and Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.

This year’s ranking has 209 cities and compares the cost of more than 200 items in each, like housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

The data was collected in March, and Mercer said due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it did further analysis on the availability of goods in April and May to confirm pricing.

"The Covid-19 pandemic reminds us that sending and keeping employees on international assignments is a huge responsibility and a difficult task to manage," Ilya Bonic, career president and head of Mercer Strategy, said.

"Rather than bet on a dramatic resurgence of mobility, organizations should prepare for the redeployment of their mobile workforces, leading with empathy and understanding that not all expatriates will be ready or willing to go abroad."

 
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