Fall in business travel drags tourism receipts to first decline since 2009
Tourists take photos by the famous Merlion fountain in Singapore July 29, 2015. Reuters

Singapore is the 21st most expensive city worldwide for expatriates, according to the latest cost of living survey by ECA International published on Tuesday.

This is the lowest it has been since 2014, but the city-state retained its ninth spot from last year in the rankings of the most expensive cities in the Asia-Pacific region, according to consultancy firm ECA International.

ECA conducts two surveys a year to help companies calculate cost-of-living allowances for expat employees. The surveys compare a basket of like-for-like goods and services bought from more than 460 locations worldwide, according to the company. The survey doesn't include rent, utilities, car purchases and school fees, which are tracked separately.

Tokyo retained its crown atop the Asia-Pacific pack, and financial centre Hong Kong has taken second place, while climbing two spots in the global rankings to come ninth after Tokyo.

Asian cities continue to be the majority in the global rankings, with 26 of the top 50 cities located in Asia.

This compares with just four European cities and three U.S. locales making it into the top 50.