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The most expensive city in the world to base employees was Luanda, capital of Angola, because of the cost of goods and security, according to the annual cost of living survey by Mercer, the consultancy.

This year, London was ranked in 30th place, falling 13 spots compared with last year. Mercer's 23rd annual Cost of Living Survey finds that factors like the instability of housing markets and inflation for goods and services contribute to the overall cost of doing business in today's global environment.

Angolan capital Luanda took the top spot, followed by Hong Kong and Tokyo. It is created to help companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees. Manama, Bahrain climbed by the most spots among Middle Eastern cities, coming in at 16 places higher than past year, with Riyadh and Muscat also rising by five and two places respectively.

There are three European cities in the top 10 of the rankings, all of them in Switzerland.

Nathalie Constantin-Métral, Principal at Mercer with responsibility for compiling the survey ranking said, "The majority of Chinese cities fell in the ranking due to the weakening of the Chinese yuan against the United States dollar". Other cities appearing in the top 10 of Mercer's costliest cities for expatriates are Seoul (6), Geneva (7), Shanghai (8), New York City (9), and Bern (10). Glasgow and Belfast fell by 42 and 36 places respectively.

Dethroned past year by the Chinese city, Luanda regained the dubious honor despite the depreciation of the kwanza currency against the USA dollar, the survey by the Mercer consulting group found. "However, the majority of Chinese cities fell in the ranking due to the weakening of the Chinese yuan against the USA dollar". However, London did not drop as far as may be expected, with steep prices keeping London as one of the most expensive cities for expatriates worldwide.

"As a result, many European cities have been driven down the ranking by around 10-20 places".

While Hong Kong is bounced back down to second place it remains the most expensive Asian city "because of its currency's link to the dollar, a factor which makes local housing more expensive", the report said. At the other end of the rankings, Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, and Skopje, the capital of the Republic of Macedonia, are among the most cheap for expats.

The world's least expensive city for expatriates is Tunis, according to the survey, followed by Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek and Skopje in Macedonia.