Caracas, Venezuela once again topped a list of the most expensive cities for expats.
The ranking, released by global consulting firm ECA International, is intended to help companies calculate living expenses for employees who are sent to work abroad. But it also offers an interesting insight into the cost of living for anyone thinking of moving to a new country.
The top 10 remained relatively unchanged from 2013; only Seoul, South Korea jumped 12 spots, to number 10, and Juba, South Sudan dropped 5 spots, to number 4.
While Venezuela remains extremely expensive for expats, it can also be considered the world’s cheapest city for expatriates, depending on which exchange rate you use.
Venezuela’s official fixed exchange rate greatly overvalues the bolivar, making Caracas by far the most costly in the world for the second year running for companies paying expatriates on that basis.
However, expatriates now have access to the much fairer and better value Sicad 2 rate, introduced to enable a more regular supply of US dollars to importers at an exchange rate much closer to the black-market rate. When this rate is applied the cost of items in ECA’s basket of goods and services plummets and Caracas becomes the cheapest city in the world for expatriates.
The firm calculates cost-of-living expenses by looking at a basket consumer goods and services in more than 440 locations around the world.
Here are the 50 most expensive cities worldwide for international assignees, according to ECA: