Living in Lisbon: the Portuguese capital is the 106th most expensive city in the world for expats

Lisbon is no longer one of the 100 most expensive cities in the world, falling 11 places in an international ranking that integrates 209 major cities and measures the cost of living for expats.

22 June 2020, Redaction

The cost of living in Lisbon decreased in 2020. The Portuguese capital fell 11 places in the "Cost of Living 2020" ranking, by the consultancy firm Mercer, and is now the 106th most expensive city in the world to live in for expats out of a total of 209 major cities. In the top 10 of the list are 6 Asian cities, with Hong Kong once again topping the table. Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, on the other hand, occupies the last position in the ranking.

According to the study, "the price of petrol in Lisbon (1.61 euros per litre of 95 octane petrol) is among the highest, considering the prices in other cities included in the ranking". On the other hand, and compared to the most expensive city in the ranking, "looking at the average price of cleaning products, which includes sanitising products, household cleaning products or detergent for dishwashers, the city of Lisbon has an average cost of 32.90 euros and Hong Kong, the most expensive city in the world for expats, has an average value of 37.80 euros", concludes the study.

In this year's ranking, Lisbon is ahead of Luanda (115th place), the Angolan capital, which topped the list in 2017 and last year, finished in 26th place.

The second most expensive city for expatriates is Ashgabat in Turkmenistan, while Tokyo (Japan) and Zurich (Switzerland) remain in 3rd and 4th places respectively. Next in order are Singapore (Singapore), New York (USA), Shanghai (China), Bern (Switzerland), Geneva (Switzerland), and Beijing (China).

Mercer's study, which was developed to help multinational organisations and governments define compensation strategies for their foreign employees, uses New York as the base city for all comparisons. 

"The study includes more than 400 cities around the world. This year's ranking includes 209 cities across 5 continents and analyses and compares the costs of more than 200 items at each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment," Mercer said in a statement.

Cited in the document, Tiago Borges, Rewards leader at Mercer Portugal, said the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on this year's study: "Border closures, flight disruptions, mandatory confinement and other short-term disruptions have affected not only the price of goods and services, but also the quality of life of expatriates." He continued to add that, "the sudden changes in exchange rates were mainly driven by the impact that COVID-19 is having on the global economy. This volatility can affect the mobility of employees in many ways, from shortages and adjustment of prices of goods and services to interruptions in supply chains".

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