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10 most expensive cities of the world

Imagine paying $7,000 a month for a two-bedroom apartment, or $42 for a movie? These are the world's 10 priciest cities, according to a study which helps companies assess the costs of relocating employees abroad.

1. Luanda, Angola

2 bedroom apt.: $6,600 per month 
Pair of blue jeans: $242.81 
Club sandwich and soda: $18.95

Luanda is the most expensive city in the world for Americans for the second year in a row. Living safely in a country overrun by civil war for nearly 30 years comes at a steep price. Americans want apartments with features like gated entrances in pricey neighborhoods near international schools, says Ed Hannibal, partner at Mercer.

The good news is that gas is just $0.61 per liter, and the price is dropping.

2. N'Djamena, Chad

Club sandwich and soda: $26 
International daily newspaper: $7.07

Chad's capital is a fairly inexpensive city. But it made Mercer's list for the same reasons that Luanda did -- safe apartments are hard to find, and most of the day-to-day necessities that an expat might want have to be imported.

3. Hong Kong

2 bedroom apt.: $6,960.04 per month 
Cup of coffee (plus tip): $6.64 
Gas (per liter): $2.17

Rents are sky-high in this city, which is one of the most densely populated in the world. In addition to pricey apartments, expats are saddled with expensive imported food, and gas that costs more than $8 per gallon.

4. Singapore

2 bedroom apt.: $3,709.26 per month 
Pair of jeans: $126.19 
Cup of coffee (plus tip): $5.05

Singapore has long been one of the world's most expensive cities. The city-state is a regional hub for many big companies, including Shell and Philips, where American employees really have to pay for the basics, like food and clothing.

5. Zurich

2 bedroom apt.: $4,131.95 per month 
Pair of jeans: $156.23 
One movie ticket: $21.22

Nearly a quarter of Zurich's residents work at banks or investment firms, so it's no wonder the city is so expensive. A fast-food hamburger meal there goes for a staggering $15.

6. Geneva

2 bedroom apt.: $3,908.61 per month 
Pair of jeans: $45.07 
Fast food hamburger: $14.18

Geneva is known as an international shopping destination, with luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermès and Cartier dotting its boulevards. But there are plenty of high prices even down-market: Two tickets for a movie go for more than $42.

7. Tokyo

2 bedroom apt.: $4,308.35 per month 
Cup of coffee (plus tip): $6.17 
One movie ticket: $17.63

Space is at a premium in jam-packed Tokyo, which makes it particularly expensive. The good news for Americans is that exchange rates have improved in their favor. But a pair of jeans will still run you 123 bucks.

8. Bern, Switzerland

2 bedroom apt.: $2,568.51 per month 
Pair of jeans: $145.07

In the Swiss capital, Americans can pay more than $14 for fast food hamburger. But at least expats will be in good company: More than 20% of Bern's residents come from abroad, according to the city.

9. Moscow

2 bedroom apt.: $4,700 
Milk (per liter): $6.81 
Daily international newspaper: $8.52

Big oil money and high inflation make the Russian capital a very costly city for Americans. A liter of milk goes for nearly $7, compared to an average price of $1.19 in New York City, a notoriously expensive city in its own right.

10. Shanghai

2 bedroom apt.: $4,092.42 
Pair of jeans: $163.37 
Cup of coffee (plus tip): $6.55

One of China's biggest cities -- population 24 million -- has become even more expensive thanks to the strengthening yuan. It jumped four spots into Mercer's top 10 this year as China's currency appreciated.