And the world's most expensive city for expats is ... Tokyo

And the world's most expensive city for expats is ... Tokyo

Other results from ECA International's survey: Sydney soars 10 places while Hong Kong tumbles
Your grocery bill is a good indicator of whether your cost of living is going up or down.

No startling news here, but Japanese cities are still the most expensive places to live in Asia.

According to a survey conducted by ECA International to assess the cost of living for expats, Tokyo has held onto the top spot for the second year running, despite the tumultuous events of 2011.

In order of priciness, Olso, Geneva, Nagoya, Zurich, Yokohama, Bern, Stavanger, Basel and Kobe make up the most expensive cities after Tokyo.

Japan's dominance is due to its record high yen, which has risen by about 20 percent against the U.S. dollar in the past 12 months.

Globally, Sydney jumped 10 places to no. 15., Shanghai was unchanged in 41st place, while Hong Kong dropped 26 places -- the survey's largest fall -- to 58th, due largely to its weakened dollar.

The survey also compared Asian cities with each other; average prices in the region are judged to have risen by 8 percent.

In the Asian rankings, Japan dominated with Tokyo, Nagoya, Yokohama and Kobe taking the top four places.

The strong won carried Seoul to fifth place, and for the first time in 10 years, Singapore (sixth) beat Hong Kong (no.9).

Singapore's strong currency and 5.6 percent rise in the average price of day-to-day goods and services reverses the longtime assumption that Hong Kong is the more expensive place to live.

Other cities such as Bangkok ranked at no. 22 and Mumbai at no. 36.

The survey -- which is conducted twice a year in March and September -- bases its rankings on a basket of common goods such as clothing, vegetables, electrical goods and tobacco but leaves out accommodation, utilities, vehicle purchase and school fees.

The top 20 most expensive cities in the world are:
1. Tokyo
2. Oslo
3. Geneva
4. Nagoya
5. Zurich
6. Yokohama
7. Bern
8. Stavanger
9. Basel
10. Kobe
11. Luanda
12. Copenhagen
13. Caracas
14. Helsinki
15. Sydney
16. Moscow
17. Canberra
18. Libreville
19. Stockholm
20. Paris

The top 20 most expensive Asian cities are:
1. Tokyo
2. Nagoya
3. Yokohama
4. Kobe
5. Seoul
6. Singapore
7. Beijing
8. Shanghai
9. Hong Kong
10. Busan
11. Ulsan
12. Taipei
13. Guangzhou
14. Shenzhen
15. Jakarta
16. Kaohsiung
17. Shenyang
18. Tianjin
19. Qingdao
20. Dalian