Manila 80th costliest city for expatriates in the time of pandemic

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 10) — Manila ranks as the 80th most expensive city to live in during the coronavirus pandemic, the Mercer’s 2020 Cost of Living Survey revealed.

From the 109th spot, the Philippines' capital city has jumped 29 places to tie with Detroit, USA as the costliest cities in the world for expatriates in the wake of COVID-19.

Mercer, an American human resource consulting firm, gathered the data for the survey in March.

This year’s survey includes 209 cities worldwide and measured the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location in terms of housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

It considered several factors in determining the cost of expatriate packages for employees of international assignments. Among them are currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and instability of accommodation prices.

The Cost of Living Survey this year aimed to help “employers navigate expatriate packages, essential due to uncertainty from pandemic,” according Mercer’s website.

“The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that sending and keeping employees on international assignments is a huge responsibility and a difficult task to manage,” said Ilya Bonic, career president and head of Mercer Strategy.”

The firm focuses on workforce mobility, career growth for employees, and global competitiveness.

“Border closings, flight interruptions, mandatory confinements, and other short-term disruptions have affected not only the cost of goods and services, but also the quality of living of assignees,” Bonic added.

Asia tops the list

Six out of the top 10 most expensive cities in the world are in Asia. Hong Kong remained in the top list overall, followed by (2) Ashgabat in Turkmenistan, (3) Tokyo, (5) Singapore, (7) Shanghai, (10) Beijing,

According to data, Hong Kong retained its top spot due to “currency movements measured against the U.S. dollar and driving up the cost of living locally.”

Meanwhile, the world’s least expensive cities for expatriates are Tunis (209), Windhoek (208), and Tashkent tied with Bishkek (206).