Don’t move to Caracas if you’re strapped for cash


A new ranking of the world’s most expensive cities for expats calls the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, No. 1. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

If you plan to live in Venezuela’s capital, it will cost you a pretty penny.

Caracas has become the world’s most expensive location for expatriates — typically professionals who are sent by their companies to work abroad. The findings come from ECA International’s cost of living survey that compared prices in 440 cities worldwide, looking at items expats are most likely to buy, such as clothing, groceries and tobacco.

Runaway inflation carried the city from 32nd to first place in one year. Annual inflation in Venezuela is now more than 80 percent and the cost of living is 40 percent higher than in the second-costliest city: Oslo.

Bloomberg reported:

Consumer prices in Venezuela soared 59 percent in the year through March, the highest in the world, after the government introduced two alternative currency systems that trade at about 10 and 50 bolivars per dollar. While prices in bolivars rise, many foreign companies still use the official rate for legal reasons.

Angola, Luanda, ranked third worldwide.

ECA, which advises companies that place employees globally, lists 50.

The only U.S. city on the list, Manhattan, is 39th globally — but second in the Americas.

The top 10 most expensive cities in the world for expats:

1. Caracas, Venezuela

2. Oslo, Norway

3. Luanda, Angola

4. Zurich, Switzerland

5. Geneva, Switzerland

6. Stavanger, Norway

7. Bern, Switzerland

8. Basel, Switzerland

9. Juba, South Sudan

10. Copenhagen, Denmark

Lindsey Bever is a national news reporter for The Washington Post. She writes for the Morning Mix news blog. Tweet her: @lindseybever
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