Hong Kong has taken over from Tokyo as the world's most expensive city, according to a lifestyle survey which also reveals the gap between the costliest and cheapest cities is narrowing.
Moscow muscles in at second place in the survey, released on Monday by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, with Tokyo third. At the other end of the scale, Johannesburg replaced Blantire in Malawi as the cheapest city on the planet.
Mercer said the gulf between those at the top and bottom of the pile had narrowed by nearly 15 percent in the 12 months to March this year.
The research took New York as the base city with a nominal score of 100 points. Hong Kong scored 124.2; the South African metropolis just 34.4.
It measured the comparative cost of over 200 items such as housing, food, clothing and household goods as well as transport and entertainment in 144 cities worldwide.
St. Petersburg in Russia and London were the two most expensive cities in Europe, while in the United States, New York was far and away the costliest city, followed by Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.
Elsewhere, Buenos Aires was the most dramatic faller, plunging from 23rd to 133rd following Argentina's economic crisis and devaluation of the peso.
New Zealand and Australian cities continued to show they are probably the best bet for cheap but high quality living, with scores consistently around 50 or below while at the same time ranking in the top 30 for quality of life in another Mercer survey released in March.
(People's Daily July 9, 2002)