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Toronto most expensive Canadian city, but Vancouver not far behind

| www.cos-mag.com

Toronto is the most expensive city for U.S. expatriates in Canada in 54th place (score 88.1), jumping 28 places from last year, according to the latest Cost of Living Survey from Mercer. All other Canadian cities in the survey have experienced similar rises, with Vancouver moving from 89th to 64th (score 85.8), Calgary from 92nd to 66th (score 85.4) and Montréal from 98th to 72nd with a score of 83. This reverses last year's trend, which saw Canadian cities decline, and places them back where they have traditionally been rated. The Canadian dollar has appreciated nearly 15 per cent against the U.S. dollar, the main reason for these movements.

Moscow remains the world's most expensive city for expatriates for the third consecutive year. Tokyo is in second position climbing two places since last year, whereas London drops one place to rank third. Oslo climbs six places to 4th place and is followed by Seoul in 5th. Asunción in Paraguay is the least expensive city in the ranking for the sixth year running. In 54th place (score 88.1), jumping 28 places from last year.

With New York as the base city scoring 100 points, Moscow scores 142.4 and is close to three times costlier than Asunción which has an index of 52.5. Contrary to the trend observed last year the gap between the world's most and least expensive cities now seems to be widening.

Mercer's survey covers 143 cities across six continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. It is the world's most comprehensive cost of living survey and is used to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees.

Yvonne Traber, a principal and research manager at Mercer, says, "Current market conditions have led to the further weakening of the U.S. dollar which, coupled with the strengthening of the Euro and many other currencies, has caused significant changes in this year's rankings."

She adds, "Although the traditionally expensive cities of Western Europe and Asia still feature in the top 20, cities in Eastern Europe, Brazil and India are creeping up the list. Conversely, some locations such as Stockholm and New York now appear less costly by comparison.

"Our research confirms the global trend in price increases for certain foodstuffs and gasoline, though the rise is not consistent in all locations. This is partly balanced by decreasing prices for certain commodities such as electronic and electrical goods. We attribute this to cheaper imports from developing countries, especially China, and to advances in technology.

"Keeping on top of the changes in expatriate cost of living is essential so companies can ensure their employees are compensated fairly and at competitive rates when stationed abroad," Traber says.

Individual reports are produced for each city surveyed. For further information or to purchase copies of the city reports, visit

www.mercer.com/costofliving

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