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Tokyo back as most expensive city

Tokyo is the world's most expensive city, ahead of Moscow and Osaka.
Tokyo is the world's most expensive city, ahead of Moscow and Osaka.

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Rank and score
1. Tokyo 126.1
2. Moscow 114.5
3. Osaka 112.2
4. Hong Kong 111.6
5. Beijing 105.1
6. Geneva 101.8
7. London 101.3
8. Seoul 101.0
9. Zurich 100.3
10. New York 100.0
Source: Mercer HR Consulting

(CNN) -- Tokyo has regained its mantle as the world's most expensive city, replacing Hong Kong, according to a new cost of living survey.

Hong Kong has fallen to fourth, while Moscow retains the No. 2 spot. Japan's second-largest city Osaka, is in third position.

Beijing is in fifth place, giving Asia four of the world's five most expensive cities.

The South Korean capital Seoul ranks No. 8, behind London.

The strength of the euro against the dollar has pushed Geneva, 28th last year, and Zurich, 32nd last year, into the top 10 for the first time at 6th and 9th respectively.

Two cities that were in the top 10 last year -- Shanghai and Russia's St Petersburg -- were placed 11th and 12th this year, reflecting the rapid rise of Geneva.

New York, which provides the baseline cost, has fallen to 10th spot.

The annual survey by human resources consultants Mercer looks at 144 cities around the world and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items. These include housing, food, clothing, household goods, transport and entertainment.

The data is used to assist multinational companies and governments in determining compensation allowances for their expatriate workers

Mercer senior research Yvonne Traber said changes in the global economic environment had a major impact on the 2003 cost of living index.

"The depreciation of the US dollar against the euro, high inflation and economic recession in many countries have modified the scores of a number of cities," she said in a statement accompanying release of the results in London on Monday.

The Mercer index assigns New York as the base city with 100 points. Against that, Tokyo scored 126.1 points, ahead of Moscow on 114.5 and Osaka on 112.2.

Asia has half of the 11-20 ranking. Shanghai is joined by Vietnam's Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City at 14 and 15, and southern China's Shenzhen and Guangzhou, equal 18th.

According to Mercer, despite Japan's fourth straight year of deflation, the appreciation of the yen against the dollar made its cities among the costliest in the world.

U.S. cities White Plains (25 miles north of New York), Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami ranked 20th, 22nd, 25th and 27th.

Australia's most expensive city is Sydney, ranked 67th with a score of 73.7. Beirut tops the Middle East in 25th spot with 83.9, and Cameroon's Douala leads the African rankings at 31st, with 82.9.

Lima in Peru has replaced Caracas as the most expensive city in South America, at 108th position on 63.4. South America's currency devaluations have helped make its cities among the cheapest of those surveyed, with Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Bogota and Asuncion scoring between 46.5 and 36.5.

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