Rupee rise, economic growth make Indian cities costlier for expats

Rupee rise, economic growth make Indian cities costlier for expats

New Delhi: India’s fast economic growth and appreciation of rupee have made its cities more expensive for expatriates this year, though they remain cheaper when compared to other leading Asian cities such as Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore, a latest survey says.

Seven Indian cities -- Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune and Bangalore have all moved up by 14-21 ranks in the survey titled “Worldwide Cost of Living Ranking 2007" prepared by Hong Kong-based solution provider for international HR professionals ECA International.

“The region’s most notable changes have been in India where fast economic growth has pushed up the cost of many goods and services. This, coupled with the appreciation of the rupee against most major currencies, has made Indian locations significantly more expensive for expatriates," a ECA statement said.

Mumbai and New Delhi have risen 14 and 16 places to 177 and 178th ranks respectively, while Hyderabad is up 21 places at 189. Bangalore has risen 15 places to 205th position, distancing itself for the first time from the bottom five in the ranking, it said.

While Chennai is at the 186th place, Kolkata is at 193rd followed by Pune at 194th.

The Cost of Living survey is topped by Korea’s Seoul as the costliest city for expats in Asia followed by three Japanese cities Tokyo, Yokohama and Kobe at the second, third and fourth ranks in that order.

Hong Kong (5th), Taipei (6th), Beijing (7th), Shanghai (8th), Singapore (9th) and Guangzhou in China (10) are the other cities among the ten costliest places in Asia.

Among the Asian rankings, Indian cities Mumbai and Delhi occupy 24th and 25th positions while Chennai comes at 27th place followed by Hyderabad (28), Kolkata (30) and Pune (31). Interestingly, Bangalore (37) has the least cost of living among Asian cities, followed by the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo (38) and Pakistan’s capital Islamabad (39).

Living costs for expatriates are affected by inflation, availability of goods and exchange rates, all of which can have a significant impact on expatriate remuneration packages, added the statement.

“... the commodity boom in recent years has led to considerable currency appreciations in commodity-exporting markets such as Angola, making it an increasingly expensive location for expatriates," said General Manager of ECA International (Hong Kong) Lee Quane.

ECA’s cost of living survey is based on comparison of a basket of 128 consumer goods and services commonly purchased by expatriates in over 300 locations worldwide.

Globally, the most expensive city for expatriates is Luanda in Angola, followed by Norwegian capital of Oslo, Moscow, Stavanger (Norway) and Copenhagen (Denmark).