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Cost of Living Survey highlights

One of the main stories in the September 2019 cost of living survey was the strength of the US dollar and Japanese yen compared to most other currencies. This was enough to make Tokyo the world’s second most expensive city in ECA’s recent rankings and it will make US cities and those in the countries with currencies pegged to the greenback more expensive for most expatriates.

ECA has prepared this interactive map to help you understand and explain to assignees how key events around the world have affected cost of living indices during our most recent survey period. This should act as a useful guide when considering whether to amend assignee cost of living allowances to ensure that spending power is maintained.

If you require any assistance or would like additional information or data on the 485 locations included in our survey, or need advice regarding currency fluctuations, please get in touch.


Post-survey developments

In Zimbabwe the situation has gone from bad to worse since the September 2019 survey. The government has raised petrol prices multiple times and reduced interest rates to encourage borrowing and stimulate the economy, but the Zimbabwean dollar has continued to tumble in value which will further push up the cost of imported goods.

The Zimbabwean dollar is not the only currency to have lost a lot of value since the cost of living survey in September 2019. The Venezuelan bolivar has continued to plunge in value while the Angolan kwanza has dropped more than 20% and the Chilean peso around 8% against the euro in the period.

The British pound has rebounded since a Brexit extension was agreed, which eliminated the imminent threat of a no deal exit from the European Union, and a general election was subsequently held. However, uncertainty will continue for some time yet while the UK and EU try to negotiate a free trade agreement, so expect more ups and downs throughout 2020.

In the fast-moving world of cost of living it pays to know about the changes that your assignees are facing. To keep track of exchange rate and inflation news subscribe to the ECA blog and get the latest news directly to your inbox.

ECA’s interim surveys

We are currently undertaking interim surveys for the following countries due to high inflation expectations: Angola, Argentina, Haiti, Iran, Turkmenistan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe. The results will be available in January 2020.


ECA publishes cost of living data for 485 cities around the world. It is available from ECA in several forms: as part of a subscription in a calculator which allows you to experiment with different types of index and review the outputs; in reports, providing background detail for specific indices; and as part of the Build-up Calculator for performing balance-sheet calculations. Cost of living data is also pre-populated in ECAEnterprise, our Assignment Management System, and in our Net-to-Net Calculator.

  Please contact us to speak to a member of our team directly.

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