Cost of living for expatriates in Singapore goes down

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The cost of living for expatriates here has fallen below that of many of Asian cities, such as Tokyo and Seoul, according to consultancy ECA International.

Singapore tumbled six places from 18th last year to become the 24th most expensive location for expats, the report noted yesterday. It is the first time the country has fallen out of the top 20 ranking since 2014, when it came in 31st.

The survey tracked a basket of day-to-day goods and services, including food, household items, general services and necessities, but excludes costs such as rental, utilities, car purchases and school fees.

Despite the decline, prices here had gone up in local currency terms in the past year. But the increase was mitigated by foreign currency movements as the Singapore dollar had weakened against the US dollar, said ECA International, which tracks 460 cities twice a year.

"As the Singapore dollar has depreciated against many currencies over the course of the last year, this has made the cost of living cheaper relative to several other locations than it was a year ago," noted regional director Lee Quane.

The most expensive city in the world for expats is Angolan capital Luanda, which rose from eighth last year to top spot as the overvalued Angolan currency drove up the cost of goods, the consultancy said.

Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia remained the cheapest location in the Asia-Pacific, followed by cities in Malaysia and Myanmar, the report noted.