HK slips to fourth on world cost-of-living list

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 January, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 January, 2003, 12:00am

Hong Kong has slipped one notch in a ranking of the world's most expensive cities for expatriates but is still in the top five.

The twice-yearly survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) placed Hong Kong as the fourth costliest place to live, tying with Libreville in the African state of Gabon.

Tokyo and Osaka/Kobe in Japan retained the top spots on the list, coming first and second, while Oslo, the Norwegian capital, moved to third from fourth.

The government challenged the results, which it said contradict its own survey released in November. 'We continue to be puzzled by EIU's cost-of-living survey results,' a government spokesman said, adding that in its survey of seven cities: 'Our results show the cost of living for expatriates in Hong Kong is lower than that in Tokyo, New York and London.'

Another survey last year by Mercer Human Resource Consulting named Hong Kong as the world's most expensive city.

In the EIU's survey released yesterday, London ranks 7th and New York is 11th. New York is given a baseline index rating of 100 to which all other cities are compared.

Even though Hong Kong has continued to suffer deflation in the past year, costs will not drop substantially because of the currency peg to the US dollar, said Daniel Chan Po-ming, an economist at Dao Heng Bank.

In compiling the index, covering 134 cities, researchers calculate the cost of more than 160 items, ranging from food, toiletries and clothing to domestic help, transport and utility bills.

Graphic: EIUU17GET