Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cost of Living Trends 2012

The cost of living outlook in 2012 for America, the Euro countries and Britain looks poor. People are struggling to survive with the burden of their debts and government debt may yet claim more victims. The best hope lies with bringing outsourced jobs back and increasing export demand, but there is little sign that this will happen in 2012.

Expatriate prospects look better in the East for now, in countries such as Malaysia, India, China, Singapore, Japan, the UAE and Qatar. Analysis of expatriate movements in the last quarter of 2011 based on the number of times a country was selected as a home country (i.e. the country expatriates were leaving) in the calculators during the last quarter of 2011, reveals that 37% of expatriates were sent out from the USA, followed by the The Netherlands, the UK, Canada, Australia, Portugal, South Africa, France and Germany with New Zealand in tenth place. Where did they go? According to the reports run, the 10 most popular expatriate host countries (i.e. the countries expatriates were going to) were China (15%), followed by Brazil, the United Kingdom, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Spain, the USA and the United Arab Emirates, with Malaysia in tenth place. The data indicates that there are far more host countries than home countries. This would indicate that there are still a relatively small number of home countries sending expatriates to a wide selection of host countries around the world.

In 2012 we expect continued volatility in global exchange rates. The British Pound is likely to fall further against the US Dollar in 2012, in part because of the fall in the Euro, but also because the US Dollar rises against other currencies when the world is in turmoil.

The most certain trend in 2012 is uncertainty. In the USA political polarization may lead to a political impasse that will leave the government without a budget for essential federal functions and without the borrowing capacity to fund normal operations. In Europe there is uncertainty about bold policy action and coordination within and among the European Union member countries. 2012 will witness a widening gap between the preferences of the lending economies and the needs of the countries with large debt and limited options. In China the uncertainty is that it may not have all the tools to achieve its goals, is likely to be on a slower growth trajectory, and the emergence of the next generation of leadership.

The latest cost of living data, collected during the last quarter of 2011 for 950 global locations, shows the latest global rankings together with the cost of living trend upwards, downwards or stable in the global rankings, which will most likely to continue into 2012.

The cost of living data collected is representative of an expatriate lifestyle. The components of cost of living are mainly prices, inflation and exchange rates. Prices in each location are affected by availability (i.e. supply & demand) as well as local pricing regulations and taxes on goods and services (e.g. premiums on luxury brands). Local inflation is usually representative of local price increases which in turn impacts an expatriates purchasing power in the host country. The exchange rate impacts both the price of imports to the host country and the expatriate assignment salary calculation between the home and host country. The cost of living has a significant impact on the purchasing power of an expatriate’s salary package.

The top 100 most expensive places in the world are:
1.Japan, Tokyo (Stable)
2.China, Hong Kong (Up)
3.Switzerland, Geneva (Down)
4.Japan, Yokohama (Up)
5.Switzerland, Zurich (Down)
6.Switzerland, All Areas (Down)
7.Japan, Kawasaki (Up)
8.USA, New York (Manhattan) NY (Down)
9.Japan, Kyoto (Up)
10.Venezuela, Caracas (Up)
11.Japan, Osaka (Up)
12.Liechtenstein, Vaduz (Down)
13.Japan, Nagoya (Up)
14.Norway, Oslo (Down)
15.Brazil, Sao Paulo (Down)
16.Liechtenstein, All Areas (Down)
17.Japan, Fukuoka (Up)
18.Norway, All Areas (Down)
19.China, Shanghai (Up)
20.Japan, Kobe (Up)
21.Brazil, Rio de Janeiro (Down)
22.United Kingdom, London (Down)
23.Angola, Luanda (Up)
24.Australia, Sydney (Down)
25.Venezuela, All Areas (Up)
26.Japan, All Areas (Up)
27.Denmark, Copenhagen (Down)
28.Japan, Sapporo (Up)
29.USA, New York (Brooklyn) NY (Up)
30.Singapore, Singapore (Up)
31.Denmark, All Areas (Down)
32.USA, Honolulu HI (Up)
33.Australia, Canberra (Down)
34.Angola, All Areas (Up)
35.Russia, Moscow (Down)
36.Brazil, Brasilia (Down)
37.Monaco, Monaco (Down)
38.France, Paris (Down)
39.USA, New York NY (Up)
40.Australia, Perth (Down)
41.United Kingdom, Glasgow (Down)
42.Australia, Melbourne (Down)
43.United Kingdom, Guildford (Stable)
44.Jersey, Saint Helier (Up)
45.United Kingdom, Edinburgh (Up)
46.United Kingdom, Manchester (Up)
47.Germany, Munich (Down)
48.Germany, All Areas (Down)
49.United Kingdom, Reading (Up)
50.Korea Republic of, Seoul (Down)
51.France, Nice (Down)
52.Jersey, All Areas (Up)
53.Germany, Hamburg (Down)
54.Korea Republic of, Daegu (Down)
55.Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby (Up)
56.Taiwan, Taipei (Up)
57.United Kingdom, Luton (Up)
58.Korea Republic of, Incheon (Down)
59.Italy, Turin (Down)
60.Austria, Vienna (Down)
61.Nigeria, Abuja (Up)
62.Cayman Islands, All Areas (Up)
63.Italy, Palermo (Down)
64.USA, New York (Queens) NY (Up)
65.Italy, Rome (Down)
66.Falkland Islands, Stanley (Up)
67.Canada, Toronto (Down)
68.United Kingdom, Liverpool (Down)
69.United Kingdom, Bristol (Down)
70.Russia, Vladivostok (Down)
71.Germany, Cologne (Down)
72.United Kingdom, Stoke-on-Trent (Up)
73.France, Toulouse (Down)
74.Nigeria, Lagos (Up)
75.Korea Republic of, Busan (Down)
76.USA, San Jose CA (Up)
77.Germany, Berlin (Down)
78.United Kingdom, Belfast (Up)
79.United Kingdom, Sheffield (Stable)
80.Finland, Helsinki (Down)
81.USA, San Francisco CA (Up)
82.Australia, Brisbane (Down)
83.Canada, Vancouver (Down)
84.Germany, Frankfurt (Down)
85.Isle of Man, Douglas (Down)
86.USA, Hawaii All Areas HI (Up)
87.Germany, Stuttgart (Down)
88.Canada, Edmonton (Down)
89.United Kingdom, Southampton (Down)
90.United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi (Up)
91.Austria, All Areas (Down)
92.Falkland Islands, All Areas (Up)
93.Cayman Islands, George Town (Up)
94.Canada, Calgary (Down)
95.Solomon Islands, Honiara (Up)
96.New Zealand, Wellington (Down)
97.San Marino, San Marino (Down)
98.Bahamas, Nassau (Up)
99.Nigeria, Kano (Up)
100.New Zealand, Auckland (Down)

If your location is not listed above, you can see the full list here.

Some of the recent enhancements to the calculators are:
-You can now select locations by first selecting the country and then selecting the area within the country.
-The database has been expanded from 300 to 950 global locations giving you a wider selection of both home and host locations.
-We have expanded payment options to include direct transfer for clients for whom credit card payment is not an option (Select the "Pricing" menu for details).

You will be pleased to know that we will not be increasing our prices this year. The price per report has remained USD$99 since 2008.

Using the calculators:
1 credit = USD$99 = 1 report
2 credits = USD$198 = 2 reports
3 credits = USD$297 = 3 reports
4 credits = USD$396 = 4 reports
5 credits = USD$495 = 5 reports
50 credits = USD$4,950 = 100 reports (USD$49.50 per report)

Founded in 2007,’s mission is to organize the world’s cost of living indices, exchange rates and relative hardship indices and make it accessible and useful to all.

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