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Bangkok now among world's 100 most expensive cities

A tourist enjoys the view from the King Power Mahanakhon Building in Bangkok. International cost of living surveys rank the capital among the 100 most expensive cities for expatriate workers for the first time this year. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

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Bangkok has joined the list of the 100 most expensive cities for expatriate workers for the first time on the strong baht, economic growth and more stable politics, based on cost of living surveys by ECA International.

"Over the past five years, Bangkok has climbed more than 80 places. The Thai capital now sits in 90th place in our cost of living rankings," Lee Quane, Asian director of ECA International, said on Monday. The company provides information for the management and assignment of international employees.

"The Thai baht has strengthened in recent years, as the economy has expanded and the political landscape has stabilised. This means that Thai locations are now significantly more expensive for expat workers than they have been in the past," he said. Bangkok rose 32 places from last year.

The company conducts two cost of living surveys a year. The surveys compare a basket of like-for-like consumer goods and services commonly purchased by assignees in over 450 locations worldwide. Certain living costs such as accommodation rental, utilities, car purchases and school fees are excluded.

The world's most expensive city for expats is Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan in Central Asia. The city has rocketed to the top spot from 146th in 2017 amid a deepening economic crisis.

"A plunging black market exchange rate and foreign exchange shortages have stoked levels of inflation in Turkmenistan and have led the prices of goods to increase significantly over the past 12 months," Mr Quane said.

In Asia, the second most expensive city is Hong Kong which is the sixth most expensive in the world.

Top 10 most expensive locations in Asia:

Location

2018 Asia ranking

2018 global ranking

2017 global ranking

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

1

1

146

Hong Kong

2

6

9

Seoul, Korea Republic

3

7

11

Tokyo, Japan

4

8

8

Busan, Korea Republic

5

13

23

Shanghai, China

6

14

12

Yokohama, Japan

7

15

18

Nagoya, Japan

8

17

19

Singapore

9

18

21

Osaka, Japan

10

19

20

Top 10 most expensive locations in the world:

Location

2018 ranking

2017 ranking

Ashgabat, Turkmenistan

1

146

Geneva, Switzerland

2

4

Zurich, Switzerland

3

3

Basel, Switzerland

4

5

Bern, Switzerland

5

6

Hong Kong

6

9

Seoul, Korea Republic

7

11

Tokyo, Japan

8

8

Oslo, Norway

9

7

Stavanger, Norway

10

10

Source: ECA International

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