Posts Tagged ‘cost of living’

Beijing 9th Most Expensive City

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

For RMB2.00 (USD0.30) you can travel to any location on its extensive (and growing) subway network. Lasagna at a good Italian eatery in Beijing’s CBD costs only RMB 70 (USD10). How can BeijingĀ  be more expensive than London? That’s what Mercer LLC’s 2009 Expatriate Cost of Living Survey says.

Beijing rentals droped 15-20% over the last year, but this year’s summer surge in relocations has caused minor rent increases at the more popular housing developments. Waiting lists at WAB & ISB, the city’s two main international schools, have all but disappeared. Yet fees remain static. The survey uses a standard expatriate basket of goods to measure price levels across the globe.

Mercer says the strengthened US dollar (to which the RMB is closely linked) has had a significant effect on rankings. The survey is intended as a guide for assessing expatriate remuneration levels.

Beijing expatriates who buy local products (groceries & petrol) and services (restaurants, drivers & maids) must be smiling.

Read more about Beijing’s expatriate cost of living here: http://www.lihong.biz/beijing-cost-of-living

Yuan value

Monday, January 14th, 2008

As the CNY climbs to 7.27 against the USD, was interesting to read this week’s Economist citing two reasons, neither of which involve Washington:

- Reducing imported inflation, especially for food and raw materials. A question mark is placed on the efficacy of interest rate hikes in stemming inflation that is attributed to “supply-side shocks”.
- Snow-balling costs of holding down the CNY with falling interest rates in the US vs. rising rates in China.

The article notes: “Some economists argue that a big one-off revaluation would help to stem inflows by reducing the expected future appreciation of the yuan. But Chinese policymakers have stressed the need for gradual adjustment. To show that the currency is not just a one-way bet, the PBOC may try to nudge the yuan a bit lower in coming days.”

With rising rents in a lofty ‘08 (am refraining from using the “O” word) coupled with housing budgets set in USD, the data gatherers at firms like ECA will be under pressure not to under quote.

Source: Economist

Beijing more expensive than Singapore?

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Here are some excerpts from a 2 Dec Singapore’s Straits Times article: Expats here are feeling the pinch too. (subscription only)

  • ‘The ECA International survey showed Singapore rising 10 places to rank as the ninth-most-costly Asian city for expats.’
  • ‘Private home rentals have jumped by 32.2 per cent since January, compared with 14.1 per cent for the whole of last year.
  • ‘…soaring rents have prompted many multinationals to increase expat pay by up to 30 per cent.’
  • ‘I can live in Dubai for the same amount. But there, my company can charge up to thrice the price for our services.’

The article also reproduced ECA’s top 10 list of most expensive cities (below).

  1. Seoul
  2. Tokyo
  3. Yokohama
  4. Kobe
  5. Hong Kong
  6. Taipei
  7. Beijing
  8. Shanghai
  9. Singapore
  10. Guangzhou

Beijing and Shanghai are ranked above Singapore. But like any statistic, readers need to contextualise, or subscribe to ECA’s full report. Grade 1 fees at WAB (RMB146,535) may be pricier than at United World College (RMB107,311). But a liter of milk at Jenny Lou’s is cheaper than one at Cold Storage or Jason’s. We won’t get into the cost of a bowl of Niu Rou Mian here vs. one at Newton’s Circus.