Dhaka ranked as the most expensive city for expatriates in South Asia in a survey conducted by an American human resource consultancy firm.
The capital came in at 117 of Mercer's 2014 Cost of Living Rankings, up 37 spots from last year owing to a large increase in accommodation cost and a stronger local currency.
Not only did Dhaka rank above other major cities in South Asia, it also came ahead of a host of other prominent Asian metropolises such as Jakarta (119), Manila (125), Hanoi (131) and Ho Chi Minh City (135).
Mumbai is India's most expensive city, coming in at 140, followed by New Delhi at 157, Chennai 185 and Bangalore 196. Kolkata came in at 205, making it one of the least expensive cities in the world.
Published on July 10, the survey compared the cost of living for expatriates in 211 cities worldwide to New York, the base city.
It measured the comparative cost of more than 200 goods and services in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment, making it one of the most comprehensive and authoritative assessments.
Angola's capital Luanda came on top for the second year in a row, followed by N'Djamena, Chad's capital.
Pakistan's Karachi occupied the last spot, making it the world's least expensive city for expatriates for the second consecutive year. The survey found that the southern Pakistani city is more then three times cheaper than Luanda.
Rankings in many regions were affected by recent world events, including economic and political upheavals, which resulted in currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and volatility in accommodation prices, according to Ed Hannibal, partner and global leader for Mercer's Mobility practice.
While Luanda and N'Djamena are relatively inexpensive cities, they are quite costly for expatriates since imported goods come at a premium, he said.
Furthermore, finding secure living accommodation that meet the standards of expatriates can be challenging and quite costly as well. “This is generally why some African cities rank high in our survey.”
European and Asian cities also rank among the expensive cities, with Hong Kong coming in at third and Singapore fourth. Zurich jumped three places to rank fifth, followed by Geneva in sixth. Tokyo dropped four spots to rank seventh.
Other cities appearing in the top 10 of Mercer's costliest cities for expatriates are Bern, Moscow and Shanghai. The survey is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees.
While multinationals continue to recognise the importance of having a global workforce and corporate assignments remain prevalent, they must be able to monitor and balance the cost of their expatriate programmes, Hannibal said.
Employers need to evaluate the impact of currency fluctuations, inflation, and political instability when sending employees on overseas assignments while ensuring they retain talented employees by offering competitive compensation packages, he added.
Headquartered in New York, Mercer is one of the largest consulting firms in the world, operating internationally in more than 140 countries.