Less costly now for expats living in KL

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians may complain a lot about rising costs, but for people who have to leave their home countries to live and work here, it is one of the cheaper places in the world to be.

In the latest cost of living rankings by ECA International, Kuala Lumpur has actually become less expensive for expatriates than it was last year.

Malaysia’s main commercial and business hub fell five places in the ranking to 167th place this year, despite rising costs of fuel and food, among other things. On the Asia ranking, it is in the 32nd spot.

ECA International, which provides knowledge, information and software for the management and assignment of employees around the world, attributed the drop in the cost of living for foreigners to the weakening of the ringgit against the US dollar.

Regional director for Asia Lee Quane said the high rates of inflation had led to a rise in the ranking for several locations in Malaysia, including Johor Bahru.

He cited increases in the prices of food and fuel as the main factors.

“However, the ringgit’s weakness against the US dollar offsets the impact of inflation in Kuala Lumpur, causing it to fall in the ranking,” Quane added in a media statement today.

Other cities in Southeast Asia that have also become cheaper for expatriates are Bangkok, which fell 12 places to 63rd, Manila, which fell 10 places to 67th and Cebu city, which is at 169 now, 14 places behind its position last year.

Among Southeast Asian cities, Vientiane fell the furthest, retreating 29 places to 193rd. ECA International attributed the sharp decline to a weakening of the kip, the Laotian currency, against the US dollar. The value of the kip has fallen 38% in the past year.

Bucking the regional trend is Singapore. The city state rose four spots to become the eighth most expensive location in the world for expatriates.

Quane said the biggest driver in Singapore’s rise up the ranks is the double-digit increase in the cost of rentals in 2022.

He said that while the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 and 2021 had dampened demand in the Lion City, it roared back after travel restrictions were lifted.

But Quane warned that this could be a short-term shock, given that rentals had never been the factor that made Singapore one of the 10 most expensive cities in the world.

New York has pushed Hong Kong down to second place in the world’s most expensive city for expatriates ranking. Last year, the Big Apple was in fourth place.

Hong Kong retains its position as the most expensive Asian city for expatriates. Seoul is third, followed by Shanghai, with Tokyo rounding off the top five.


Source from – https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/business/2022/12/07/less-costly-now-for-expats-living-in-kl/