The surveys are conducted based on cost of living expenses in US dollars. For example according to all the surveys, the cost of living in cities outside the US dollar zone becomes more expensive if the dollar weakens against local currencies even when prices remain unchanged or indeed fall.
In June 2008, based on cost of living survey, Moscow ranked the world’s most expensive city 2 years in a row for expatriates, followed by Tokyo. This costliest Asian city, overtaking London due to appreciation of the Yen against the US dollar over the past few months. Many China’s second tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai (ranked 20 & 24 among 143 countries around the world) has moved up the Asian ranking because of a combination of stronger currency and relatively high price increase.
The report measures the cost of 200 items such as housing, clothing and food in 143 cities on six continents.
The most expensive place to rent a luxury 2 bedroom unfurnished apartment was Moscow, USD$4,018 per month, and the cheapest Karachi, at just $412.
And while a coffee in Moscow will set you back $6.13, but in Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, it will cost less than $1.70.