In Figures: The cost of a city

In spite of globalisation, substantial differences still remain in costs and working environments among the world's leading business cities.

by Steve Lodge
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

London and Tokyo usually feature in any ranking of the world's most expensive cities, but last year Moscow was named as the priciest metropolis in Mercer's authoritative Cost of Living Survey.

High demand for goods and services to international standards have helped drive Moscow up the cost rankings - though our indicators show it is still relatively affordable.

For business centres generally, there is more convergence in terms of the increased availability of global brands than in city costs.

Even so, prices encountered by international businesspeople are often noticeably higher than those faced by local residents. Costs are generally lower in non-Western cities, but there are exceptions: Mumbai serves the most expensive beer, Frankfurt the cheapest - and New York's high density and huge stock of office space helps restrain commercial rents.

Finally, lifestyle might be thought of no importance in corporate relocation decisions, but Kraft Foods cited issues such as the cost of housing and efficient transportation as key factors in its recent choice of Zurich for its new European headquarters.

To view the graphics accompanying this article please download the infographic (PDF) attached.

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