London in top 20 most expensive cities for expatriate employees, says study


London has become one of the top 20 most expensive cities to live in for expatriate employees, according to a global study.

The city has jumped up 10 places from last year, from 29 to 19, according to Mercer's annual cost of living city survey, which looks at 209 cities.

Birmingham, placed at 128, has risen 19 places and Aberdeen, in 134th position, has risen 12 places in this year's ranking.

"UK cities' rise in this year's ranking is mainly due to a strengthening of the pound against the US dollar," said Kate Fitzpatrick, Mercer's global mobility practice leader for the UK & Ireland.

But she added that a fall in rental accommodation prices in London had helped to hold back the city's rise through the rankings.

Glasgow was placed 148th in this year's study while Belfast is at number 152.

Mercer's survey is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation strategies for their expatriate employees.

New York is used as the base city for all comparisons, and currency movements are measured against the US dollar.

The survey measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

Mercer's survey identified Hong Kong as the world's most expensive city for expatriates.

Tokyo and Zurich are in second and third positions respectively.

Mercer said cities in the United States have fallen in the ranking due to a steady pickup of the European economy, which triggered a decline of the US dollar against other major currencies worldwide.

New York fell four places to rank at 13th.