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Cost of Living Survey Highlights

The March 2021 Cost of Living Survey saw the world still very much in the grip of the pandemic but with some countries beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel as vaccination programmes expanded. However, with this came economic issues for many countries, as they began to feel the impact on their economies of reduced demand and limited international travel.

Many developing nations, especially those that rely on international travel, such as the Seychelles, or exports hit by the pandemic, like Zambia, saw their currencies depreciate which in turn pushed up domestic prices. While inflation in most countries was still quite low, we saw signs of it beginning to rise as some countries began to open up after lockdowns and demand grew. For example, oil prices increased after falling last year and therefore petrol prices also rose significantly in many countries in the six months to March 2021.

Use the interactive map below to find out more about how various factors affected indices in the countries where you have assignees. Choose a home location from the dropdown and learn more about how cost of living indices changed in the six months to March 2021 for your assignees. The exchange rate changes, inflation and index change indicator will vary depending on the home location selected and are based on ECA’s default standard home-based index and may change if different assumptions are used.

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Post-survey developments

Despite the accelerating roll-out of vaccines around the world, the pandemic is continuing to cause economic damage which will affect international assignees.

However, some of the changes impacting assignees are as much man-made as caused by the pandemic. For example, the decision of President Erdogan of Turkey to sack yet another governor of the Turkish central bank led to a predictable plunge in the value of the lira which will likely push up inflation. Meanwhile, in Surinam, the central bank has devalued the local dollar by a third having only devalued previously in September last year. Venezuela, Haiti, Sudan and Myanmar have also seen their currencies lose value by more than 10% against the euro since the March 2021 survey.

Meanwhile, since the survey, the Seychellois rupee has recovered some of the value it lost due to the pandemic as confidence grows that international travel, key to the local tourism industry, will soon start to grow again. The Mozambique metical has also rebounded strongly after steadily depreciating for over a year as its commodity exports grew and in anticipation of a large natural gas project coming online. The strength of these currencies may help to lower inflation as import costs are reduced.

ECA’s interim surveys

We are currently undertaking interim surveys for the following countries due to high inflation expectations: Angola, Argentina, Cuba, Iran, Lebanon, South Sudan, Sudan, Surinam, Turkmenistan, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The results will be available in July 2021.


If you require any assistance or would like additional information or data on the 489 locations included in our survey, or need advice regarding currency fluctuations, please get in touch.

  Please contact us to speak to a member of our team directly.

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