CM – Turkmenistan’s Ashgabat tops Hong Kong as most expensive city in the world: poll


Ashgabat rose from second place in the previous survey to first place due to « high local inflation, » Jean-Philippe Sarra, head of Mercer France’s global mobility practice, told AFP.

Published: June 23, 2021 12:27 PM |

Last updated: June 23, 2021 12:27 PM

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PARIS: Turkmenistan’s capital Ashgabat has replaced Hong Kong as the most expensive city in the world for foreign workers, according to a survey on Tuesday.

Beirut jumped from 45th place in the previous year in the Mercer survey in 2021 third place due to a « severe and widespread economic crisis » stemming from multiple crises including the country’s financial troubles, Covid-19 and a fatal explosion in the Lebanese port.

Ashgabat rose from second place in in the previous poll in first place due to « high local inflation, » Jean-Philippe Sarra, head of global mobility practice at Mercer France, told AFP.

Turkmenistan is almost entirely dependent on natural gas exports and has struggled with the global collapse in energy prices recovered in 2014, which weighed on the local manat currency and plunged many citizens into poverty.

Despite the long-running economic crisis, the authorities laid down en in May laid the foundation for a major expansion of Ashgabat, with autocrat leader Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov pledging to make it « one of the most prosperous cities in the world ».

While Hong Kong fell to second place with its notoriously expensive housing Tokyo is also down one place to fourth place.

Zurich has dropped to fifth place and, along with Geneva (8) and Bern (10), is one of the three Swiss cities in the top 10.

Two more Chinese cities are among the most expensive in the world for expatriates: Shanghai climbed one place to sixth, Beijing to ninth.

According to Mercer, US cities fell behind in this year’s ranking, mainly due to currency fluctuations and despite rising inflation.

New York lost eight places, but was the most expensive in the country with 14th place.

According to the survey, the world’s cheapest city for foreign workers is Kyrgyzstan’s capital Bishkek with 209.

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