Caracas becomes more expensive, while Brazil's and Mexico's top cities become less expensive for expats.
BY CHRONICLE STAFF
Venezuela's capital Caracas has replaced Sao Paulo as the most expensive city in Latin America for foreign executives, according to a new cost of living survey from Mercer. Caracas is now more expensive than cities like London and Helsinki and only slightly less expensive than Oslo, Mercer data shows.
The survey looks at the comparative cost of over 200 items, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment in 143 cities worldwide, including 16 in Latin America.
MONTERREY LEAST EXPENSIVE
The latest survey also shows that Monterrey in Mexico has replaced Paraguay's capital Asuncion as the least expensive city in Latin America.
Caracas now has a score of 93.3 points, up from 79.3 points. Venezuela's inflation last year reached 36.4 percent, higher than the 30.3 percent registered in 2007. This year, it will likely reach between 35 to 37 percent, estimates Pedro Palma, president of MetroEconomica. In both cases that represents the highest inflation rate in Latin America and one of the highest worldwide, according to a Latin Business Chronicle analysis.
In addition to Caracas, other cities that became more expensive since the last survey include Buenos Aires, Panama City, Santo Domingo and Quito.
BUENOS AIRE MORE EXPENSIVE
Buenos Aires now has a score of 65.7 points, up from 62.7 points a year ago. “Although the Argentine peso has lost value against the US dollar, the high inflation rate observed on goods and services have caused Buenos Aires to rise in the rankings,” Nathalie Constantin-Métral, a senior researcher at Mercer, said in a statement.
Cities that became less expensive include Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Guatemala City, Bogota, Lima, Santiago, Montevideo, San Jose, Mexico City, Asuncion and Monterrey.
Sao Paulo's score fell from 97 to 74.3 points, while Rio's core fell from 95.2 to 73.9 points. That means that the two cities now are considered less expensive than Miami and Madrid.
A similar pattern has taken place in Mexico, where capital Mexico City saw its score fall from 73.6 to 55.5 points, while Monterrey's score fell from 65.8 to 49.8 points. Monterrey now ranks as the world's second-cheapest city for expats after Johannesburg.
Meanwhile, Bogota and Santiago have also seen a steep decline in cost of living. Bogota's score fell from 80.1 to 65 points, while Santiago's score declined from 78.5 to 63.5 points. That means that Bogota is now less expensive for expats than cities like Pittsburgh and Detroit, while Lima is less expensive than Ottawa.
© Copyright Latin Business Chronicle
Cost of Living in Latin America
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Panama City, Panama
Santo Domingo, Dom. Rep.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Guatemala City, Guatemala
San Jose, Costa Rica
Mexico City, Mexico
Sources: Mercer, Latin Business Chronicle (change)