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Personal Finance

World's most expensive cities
Tokyo No. 1 again, Asuncion least expensive; in U.S., New York, Los Angeles, Chicago are costliest.
June 14, 2004: 2:36 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Expensive living is yours for the taking if you're an ex-pat living in Tokyo, London and Moscow.

If you were a globe trotter, which most expensive city would you live in?

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Those three cities ranked as the most expensive in the world, according to the latest annual cost-of-living survey released Monday by Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

The three least expensive cities were Asuncion, Paraguay; Montevideo, Uruguay; and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The survey looked at 144 cities across the globe. Mercer conducts the survey to help companies and governments with offices around the world determine compensation levels for ex-patriate workers.

Among U.S. cities, New York, which ranks No. 12 worldwide, is the most expensive.

Other cities that ranked as among the most expensive are Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.

Pittsburgh, meanwhile, was the least expensive city in the country.

Mercer noted that U.S. cities dropped in their worldwide rankings relative to last year because of the depreciation of the dollar against European, Canadian and Asian-Pacific currencies.

Appreciation in local currencies also accounted for a big change in other cities' worldwide rankings.

The strength of the Canadian dollar pushed Toronto up to 89th from 104th last year, and Vancouver up to 96th from 110th.

Changes were even more dramatic for cities in Australia and New Zealand. Sydney, for instance, rose to 20th from 67th. Auckland, meanwhile, climbed to 80th from 115th.

The cost of living?

Mercer's researchers priced a basket of more than 200 goods and services in each city that reflects expatriate spending habits.

Click here for the full list

The goods and services include the monthly rent for a two-bedroom luxury apartment unfurnished, the cost of a hamburger, the price of transportation and entertainment.

For one month in that two-bedroom apartment in Tokyo, you'll drop a stunning $4,501. In Paris, you can expect to pay $2,422 and in Beijing about $3,700.

The same flat in London will cost you about $3,603, whereas in New York you'll pay about $3,500.

The best deals are in Buenos Aires or Johannesburg, where such an apartment will only cost you about $600.

A cup of coffee with table service, meanwhile, will run you about $3.30 in New York, $5.48 in Tokyo and $1.10 in Buenos Aires.  Top of page

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