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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tokyo Tops Moscow for Expat Costs

After three consecutive years as the world’s most expensive city for expatriates, Moscow fell from the top spot to No. 3 following a devaluation of the ruble, a survey released Tuesday found.

The dubious honor went to Tokyo this year, with Osaka coming in a close second, the Mercer 2009 cost of living survey said. Moscow’s third-place finish still left it as Europe’s most expensive city. Last year’s No. 3 — London — plummeted to 16th on the list.

The survey covers 143 cities across six continents and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. It is used by companies to determine compensation for employees posted abroad.

“As a direct impact of the economic downturn over the last year, we have observed significant fluctuations in most of the world’s currencies, which have had a profound impact on this year’s rankings,” Nathalie Constantin-Metral, a senior researcher at Mercer, said in a statement.

The ruble fell 35 percent against the dollar between August and January as credit markets tightened and the price of crude oil, Russia’s main export, slid from a high of $147 per barrel to a 2008 low of $43 per barrel.

Geneva moved up to fourth place, from No. 8 last year, while Hong Kong moved up one spot from No. 6 last year to fill out this year’s top five.