Hong Kong has slipped out of a list of the world’s 10 most expensive cities for expatriates, but not because of cheaper goods and services, according to the latest survey by global human resources consultancy ECA International. The study ranked Hong Kong 11th, down two spots from last year. In the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong placed fifth, also two places lower than in 2015. The drop in ranking was attributed to the strength of the Japanese yen, which has made Japanese cities more expensive than Hong Kong. While Hong Kong’s ranking has dropped, the city is still expensive for expats compared with five years ago when it placed 60th. A medium-sized cappuccino costs, on average, US$5.03 in Hong Kong but US$3.36 in Sydney, while a pint of beer costs US$12.29 in Hong Kong and US$8.71 in London. There’s a much wider offering of cheap food here ... and you wouldn’t find that in London. Lee Faulkner, expat in Hong Kong “Over the past five years, Hong Kong has generally risen in the ECA global rankings, from 60th in 2011, up 49 places to 11th in 2016,” said Lee Quane, Asia regional director for ECA International. Japan is the most expensive country for expats. Four Japanese cities made the top 10 list, with Tokyo taking the number one spot, up from 12th place in 2015. “For companies bringing talent into Japan the cost of an assignment will increase as higher allowances are required to maintain employees’ purchasing power,” Quane said. London, “historically one of the most expensive locations worldwide”, is no longer even in the top 100. Quane said it was due to Brexit and the subsequent fall of the British pound. Hong Kong has second most expensive street in the world The strength of the Hong Kong dollar against the British currency could be a boon for local firms to attract overseas talent, due to the extra money generated from the exchange rate. Among mainland cities, Shanghai took the highest spot at 13th globally, and seventh in the Asia-Pacific region. Hong Kong’s regional rival, Singapore, placed 16th globally, making the city state more attractive for companies hiring expats. Quane warned that Hong Kong could climb the ranking in the future if the US dollar strengthened, due to the local currency’s peg to the greenback. The survey looked at prices of more than 160 daily goods and services including food, household goods, leisure services, clothing, alcohol and tobacco. Lee Faulkner, an expat living in Hong Kong for more than five years, has seen some costs go up in the city, such as for beer, but generally finds it more advantageous to be in Hong Kong than his native London. “There’s a much wider offering of cheap food here ... and you wouldn’t find that in London. [Transportation] is ridiculously cheap in Hong Kong,” he said. Faulkner noted that in the last few years, expats had moved from traditionally preferred neighbourhoods to cheaper districts to keep living costs down.