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The world's most expensive city is…

CNBC logo CNBC 22/06/2016 Jessica Hartogs
© Provided by CNBC

When one thinks of the world's most expensive cities, images of New York and London probably pop to mind. But those two do not even make the list of the top 10 most expensive cities in which to live. Instead, it's dominated by Asian and African cities, as well as two Swiss ones- Zurich and Geneva- according to Mercer's annual '2016 Cost of Living Rankings.'

Published on Wednesday, the guide surveys 209 countries where employees are most likely to send their expatriates to live and work. Hong Kong remains the world's most expensive city, where the average monthly rent of a unfurnished two-bedroom apartment of "international standards in an appropriate neighborhood" costs $6,809.47. Second place may surprise you – rent in Luanda, Angola, will cost you $6,700 a month.

According to the World Economic Forum, "Luanda may not be the most expensive city in the world for the local population, but thanks to a booming oil economy, a limited supply of luxurious housing, and a high demand for it among expats…The cost of an apartment in Luanda for an Angolan household may well be just $200 a month. But that cost is discarded when looking at the cost for expats... expat cost of living varies wildly from those of locals for two fundamental reasons: supply and demand."

Compare that to Sydney for example, where a similar apartment would cost $2,636.39, or Vancouver, where monthly rent for a two-bedroom is approximately $1,737.80. Move to London or New York, and you'll see average two-bedroom rents of $4,583.25 and $5,1000, respectively.

Should you decide to go see a movie in any of these cities, and London is by far the most expensive – a ticket will set you back $17.91. Go to the movies in Johannesburg, and you'll only have to fork out a little over $4.

Fancy sitting down for a cup of coffee? You'll pay almost $8 in Hong Kong but only $2.28 in New York. And if you're driving to get that cup of coffee, one liter of unleaded gasoline will cost you around the $1 range in most cities – although you'll pay $1.79 in Hong Kong versus $0.48 in Moscow.

Top 10 most expensive cities to live in:

1. Hong Kong

2. Luanda

3. Zurich

4. Singapore

5. Tokyo

6. Kinshasa

7. Shanghai


9. N'Djamena

10. Beijing

Bottom 10 least expensive cities to live in:

1. Lusaka

2. Garborone

3. Karachi

4. Tunis

5. Minsk

6. Johannesburg

7. Blantyre

8. Bishkek

9. Cape Town

10. Windhoek

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