New York ranks only No. 29

New York ranks only No. 29

If you think $43 is too much to pay for lunch, you shouldn’t live in Oslo. According to "ECA International", a global human resources company, that’s how much an average lunch costs in Norway’s capital. But Oslo is only the second-most expensive city on ECA’s ranking of 399 global locations. And while the price of an average lunch in Tokyo is a comparatively modest $17.86, other costs, such as a $22 movie ticket and an $8.47 kilo of rice, earn it the dubious honor as the world’s most expensive city.

ECA’s ranking is based on a basket of 128 goods that includes food, daily goods, clothing, electronics, and entertainment, but not rent, utilities, and school fees, which are not typically included in a cost-of-living adjustment. ECA researchers and local partners gathered prices in September 2009 and March 2010 for domestic and imported brands that are internationally recognized—such as Kellogg’s cereal or Sapporo beer. While lower-priced goods and services are available in these markets, the study estimated the cost of supporting the standard of living expected by expatriate employees, says Lee Quane, ECA’s regional director for Asia. Some of the cities, such as Seoul and Stockholm, jumped up in the ranking as the local currency strengthened against the U.S. dollar. Quane says that while a slowdown in business may tempt employers to scale back compensation, "recessions only last so long" and retaining top talent in these places is critical to companies’ success when the global economy recovers.

Click here to see the world’s 30 most expensive cities.

Source: "ECA International"