Hong Kong is world’s most expensive global city for expats – as London slips down the rankings

Hong Kong is now the most expensive place for foreign workers to live, while a weaker pound has helped make London slightly more affordable for expats in the city, according to a global survey.

Currency fluctuations and the collapse in the price of oil have reshuffled the deck for international cities, where imported goods and scarce upmarket housing tend to increase the cost of expatriates, according to Mercer’s research.

The Angolan capital of Luanda, for example, has long been expensive for expats because of the oil boom that has drawn in a global workforce to a country with an average GDP of around $5,900 per head.

However, the city has ended its three-year run at the top of Mercer’s table after the tumbling oil price took its toll on the country, leaving Hong Kong as the world’s priciest place for expats.

Zurich, Singapore and Toyko rounded out the top five. London has fallen down the rankings, from 12th to 17th place, in part because the weak pound against the dollar over the past year made life for international workers less expensive.