June 26, 2006

Moscow ousts Tokyo as world’s costliest city

By Jeremy Lovell

LONDON (Reuters) - Moscow has surged past Tokyo and London
to become the world's costliest city with a cost of living
almost 25 percent higher than in New York, Mercer Human
Resource Consulting said on Monday in its annual survey.

Designed as a reference guide for staff on international
placements, the survey allocates New York 100 as its benchmark
and ranks every other city against it.

On that basis, Moscow surged three places from 2005 to come
in top of the league with 123.9, followed by Seoul, also up
three places on 121.7, and Tokyo, last year's leader, on 119.1.

Hong Kong climbed five places to fourth on 116.3, with
London down two to fifth place on 110.6, Osaka down four to
sixth on 108.3 and Geneva down one to seventh on 103.

Copenhagen was unchanged at eighth on 101.1 and Oslo
likewise unchanged at 10th equal on 100 -- the same score as
New York which was down three places.

Paraguay's capital Asuncion remained in last place on the
list of 144 cities on six continents with a score of 43.5.

Mercer, which describes itself as the world leader in human
resources and related financial advice, said its survey covered
more than 200 items in each city including housing, transport,
food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

"We have seen significant shifts in the cost-of-living
rankings over the past few years, reflecting a changing global
market," said Rebecca Powers, a senior consultant with Mercer.

"For many companies, it can now be more expensive to send
employees to work in Russia or Korea than places like Japan or
Switzerland which are often perceived to be more costly," she

She noted that many of this year's changes in ranking were
due to exchange rate fluctuations.