Inflation Goes Crackers In Caracas

Inflation in Caracas, Venezuela, has gone crackers making the city the most expensive overseas destination for expats, according to new figures from industry experts.

A cost of living rate of 80% has rocketed the city from a ranking of 32 last year to the top of the table – 40% ahead of last year’s top ranking most expensive city, which was Oslo, Norway.

The figures come from an analysis of more than 440 global cities by ECA International, one of the leading firms providing financial and management information for multinationals placing expats in overseas roles.

Last year, the firm expected a devaluation of the Venezuelan bolivar aimed at decreasing living costs in Caracas.

Dithering over devaluation

However, the government has dithered over making the devaluation decision, and although a black market exchange rate is working in the city, the official rate of inflation has continued to zoom upwards.

Manhattan, New York, takes second place in the Americas – but is only placed 39th in the rankings.

Vancouver, Canada, is ranked 6th in the Americas, but has plunged 38 places to 88th globally as the Canadian dollar has weakened against other major currencies.

Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian cities have also become significantly cheaper places to live for expats due to depreciation of the Real, says the study.

Oslo is the most expensive expat city in Europe, while Moscow has dropped due to the struggling rouble and London has jumped 86th to 46th due to a strengthening pound.

Tokyo drops out of top 10

Tokyo, Japan, is the most expensive Asian Pacific city – but has dropped out of the world top 10 for the first time in more than 10 years. Chinese cities like Shanghai and Beijing have become more expensive as prices have risen over the past year.

In the Middle East, a stronger shekel has pushed Tel Aviv and Jerusalem up to 21st and 25th places globally. They now rank ahead of other cities in the region, way ahead of the economic powerhouses of Dubai (165) and Abu Dhabi (177) in the United Arab Emirates.

Weak currencies in Africa have led to the cost of living for expats to drop almost across the board.

Maseru, Lesotho, is the least expensive location to live in Africa. Luanda, Angola; Juba, South Sudan; Brazzaville, Congo and Libreville, Gabon, buck the trend and all rank in the top 15 globally because of the expense of shipping goods into the countries.

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