Weaker baht lowers Bangkok's cost of living

Corporate June 12, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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Expatriates should be finding it cheaper to live in Bangkok than last year, based on the latest cost-of-living ranking by ECA International.

Of more than 440 locations worldwide, Bangkok is ranked the 172nd-most-expensive place for expatriates in the twice-yearly cost-of-living survey. Among Asia-Pacific cities, it is ranked 38th.

"Bangkok fell 23 spots to 172nd position, while Kuala Lumpur has fallen eight places to 194th place," the consulting firm reported. "Although items in ECA’s shopping basket have risen in price in both locations over the year, the weakening of the baht and the ringgit has meant that these cities have become cheaper for many expatriates."

The baht makes products cheaper, despite higher prices for daily needs such as groceries, fresh produce, drinks and tobacco, clothing, services and eating out.

The baht has weakened by 4.88 per cent from 30.94 per US dollar on June 11, 2013, to 32.45 as of yesterday.

ECA International provides knowledge, information and technology for the management and assignment of employees around the world.

According to the survey, Caracas in Venezuela is the most expensive city currently, surpassing Norway’s Oslo, which has dominated the No 1 spot for years.

In Asia, Hong Kong rose to become one of the world’s top 30 most expensive locations for international assignees, with Tokyo dropping out of the top 10 for the first time in more than a decade, according to the report.

Currently, Hong Kong is in eighth position regionally, overtaking Singapore (31st globally). ECA still cites Tokyo as the most expensive city in Asia, ranking it 11th globally, followed by Seoul and Shanghai at 16th and 18th respectively.

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