A survey has said that Asian cities are among the most expensive in the world for expatriates this year as regional currencies have gained against the US dollar and other key units.
Tokyo was ranked the second most expensive in the world, up from number 13 in 2008, the survey by human resources consultancy ECA International said, as the yen has risen almost eight percent on the greenback in 12 months.
Nagoya was the third most expensive city in the world, up from 20th, while Yokohama came in fourth and Kobe fifth. The four Japanese cities beat Copenhagen, Oslo, Geneva and Zurich into 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th respectively.
Basel in Switzerland completed the top ten.
Luanda in Angola was top due to the need to buy imported goods.
ECA International's cost of living survey compares a basket of 125 consumer items commonly purchased by expatriates in over 370 locations globally.
Beijing rose to 26th from 104th last year, with Shanghai and Hong Kong also sharply jumping up the most expensive list ladder.
Living costs in the Chinese cities were costlier than New York City, Munich, The Hague and Rome, the survey showed.
"The strengthening of Asian currencies is the dominant factor contributing to the region being more expensive for visitors than it was 12 months ago," said Lee Quane, ECA International regional director.
ECA International, which carries out the cost of living survey twice a year, said the results from the March study showed that the Chinese yuan and Japanese yen appreciated against the US dollar over the past year.
"Many Western currencies, including (the British pound) sterling, the euro and the Swiss franc, have weakened," said Quane.
"As a result, people coming from these economies into Asia will notice a considerable difference in costs compared with 12 months ago."
However, the cost of living did improve expats in Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Taipei, where the currencies have fallen against the US dollar, the survey said.
Maseru in Lesotho was ranked the cheapest city.