Expatriate Living Costs Topped by Turkmen Capital

According to a survey released today by Mercer, Ashgabat, the capital of the Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan, has overtaken Hong Kong as the city with the highest cost of living for expatriates, while Taipei ranks 22nd, up six spots from 28th last year.

Lebanon’s Beirut, which ranked 45th last year, jumped to No. 3 in Mercer’s 2021 survey because of a number of crises that have caused a “severe and widespread economic depression.

These crises include the country’s financial problems, the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, and the port explosion last August, among others.

Jean-Philippe Sarra, director of Mercer France, told AFP that Ashgabat was promoted to No. 1 from No. 2 in the previous survey because of “high local inflation.

Turkmenistan’s economy, which depends almost entirely on gas exports, is still struggling to recover from the 2014 collapse in global energy prices. That year, the situation hit the Turkmen currency, the manat, hard and left many citizens in poverty.

Hong Kong, known for its high property prices, fell to No. 2 in the survey, and Tokyo, Japan, slipped one spot to No. 4.

Zurich (Switzerland) fell to 5th place, while Geneva (8) and Bern (10) are among the top 10 cities.

Shanghai, China rose one place to 6th, Beijing climbed to 9th, and Singapore ranked 7th.

Although the United States inflation rate rose, most of the cities ranking due to exchange rate fluctuations and slipped. New York (New York) fell 8 places at once, but still ranked 14th as the most expensive city in the United States.

Bishkek, the capital of the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan, ranked 209th in the survey, making it the city with the lowest cost of living for expatriates.