Mumbai costliest Indian city for expats: Mercer report

India's financial centre is costlier than Seattle, Frankfurt, Canberra and Berlin; Bengaluru witnesses highest jump in ranking

Published: Jun 22, 2016

Life is not a template and neither is mine. Like several who have worked as journalists, I am a generalist in my over two decade experience across print, global news wires and dotcom firms. But there has been one underlying theme in each phase; life gave me the chance to observe and tell a story -- from early days tracking a securities scam to terror attacks and some of India's most significant court trials. Besides writing, I have jumped fences to become an entrepreneur, as an investment advisor -- and also taught the finer aspects of business journalism to young minds. At Forbes India, I also keep an eye on some of its proprietary specials like the Rich list, GenNext and Celebrity lists. An alumnus of Xavier Institute of Communications and H.R College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, I have worked for organisations such as Agence France-Presse, Business Standard, The Financial Express and The Times of India prior to this.

Mumbai costliest Indian city for expats: Mercer report
India’s financial centre, Mumbai, has been ranked India’s most expensive city

India’s financial centre, Mumbai, has been ranked India’s most expensive city (82nd out of 209 cities globally), according to data from Mercer’s 2016 Cost of Living Survey, released on Wednesday. Hong Kong tops the overall list, as the world’s most expensive city for expats , pushing Luanda in Angola into second place, according to the report.

The cities ranked are across  five continents and the report measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

Mumbai is followed by New Delhi (ranked 130) and Chennai (ranked 158). Kolkata (ranked 194) and Bengaluru (ranked180) are the least expensive of Indian cities ranked.

There is an increase in the prices of items such as cheese, poultry items and coffee across price ranges. At the higher price range, items such as butter, mineral water and ice cream have increased drastically, the report said.

Mumbai is ranked higher and is even more expensive than cities like Seattle (83), Frankfurt (88), Canberra (98), Berlin (100) and Istanbul (101). Most expats in Mumbai work for companies across sectors such as financial services, infrastructure, life sciences, automobiles and IT.

The Mercer report reveals that New Delhi and Bengaluru have become more expensive, from a year earlier. Bengaluru has witnessed the highest jump in ranking, due to rising prices, especially on items pertaining to food and personal care, which impact inflation. Bengaluru is one of the most expensive cities in India on account of transportation, which includes taxi fares, cost of auto and auto parts as well as running costs.

Across continents, countries with the highest current number of India assignees are United States, United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates. Across continents, countries with the highest expected increase in the number of Indian international assignees are UAE, UK and Kenya, the report says.  

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