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June 13, 2012

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Shanghai now costliest city on China's mainland

Shanghai has overtaken Beijing to become the most expensive place to live on the Chinese mainland for expats and the 16th most costly of 214 cities across the globe, according to rankings released yesterday by US human resource consultants Mercer.

Many Chinese cities are becoming more expensive due to a stronger yuan, soaring accommodation costs and steadily rising prices last year, Mercer said.

Shanghai is one place above Beijing on the global ranking list, with the cities climbing five and three places respectively from a year earlier.

Shenzhen, an economic center in southern China, rose to 30th place from 43rd in 2011.

Guangzhou City climbed seven places to rank 31st.

Other Chinese cities where the cost of living has risen sharply were Qingdao, Tianjin, Shenyang, Nanjing and Chengdu. All below the top 100 last year, they have now made it into 2012's top 100.

Shanghai and Beijing also overtook South Korean capital Seoul (22nd, down three places) among major Asian cities.

Nathalie Constantin-Metral, a Mercer official, commented on the company's website: "The combination of increased prices for goods and a strengthening of the Chinese yuan have pushed Chinese cities up the ranking. Continued high demand for accommodation has also led to moderate increases in rental costs."

Tokyo pushed Angolan capital Luanda, where the cost of secure accommodation is extremely high, into second place this year, to become the world's most expensive city for expats while most European cities dropped in the rankings, mainly due to what Mercer called a "considerable weakening" of local currencies against the US dollar.

The euro has lost 3.9 percent in the past six months, Bloomberg reported.

Moscow remained the most costly place to live in Europe, retaining its 4th place on the list. New York, 33rd, was still the most costly city in the United States.

London, in 25th place, is still more expensive than other leading tourist cities, including Paris, which fell 10 places to 37th.

The survey measures the comparative prices of more than 200 items in each location. Housing costs are included.


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