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Dubai, Abu Dhabi now 'affordable' for expats

Dubai, June 29, 2010

Falling accommodation costs are helping Dubai and Abu Dhabi remain relatively affordable cities in which to live, said a new global study by the HR consulting firm Mercer.

According to 'Mercer's 2010 Cost of Living Survey' which was released on Tuesday, Dubai was the 55th most expensive city for expats, tying with Los Angeles, California.

Interestingly, Abu Dhabi has been ranked the most expensive city in the Middle East in the report. The UAE capital ranked 50th in the same survey, tying with Frankfurt (Germany), the Mercer report added.

Other cities across the GCC were ranked as follows: Manama (139), Riyadh (144), Doha (146), Kuwait City (152), Muscat (176), and Jeddah (181).

The Mercer Cost of Living Survey data is the most comprehensive in the world and is used by firms and governments to help determine remuneration for expats being relocated to cities across the globe.

The survey covers 214 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

All cities are compared against New York as the base city for the index. Currency movements are measured against the US dollar. The cost of housing – often the biggest expense for expats - plays an important part in determining where cities are ranked.

Dr Markus Wiesner, who heads the Dubai office, said Mercer increased the number of cities surveyed this year from 143 to 214 which means that cities cannot be compared against previous rankings.

“While across the UAE the cost of living has remained relatively stable, we are seeing that accommodation costs have continued to decrease in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, driving down the cost of living for expats,” he noted.

Luanda in Angola is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates, while Tokyo is in second position followed by Ndjamena in Chad.

Moscow ranked fourth followed by Geneva in fifth position, while Karachi was ranked the world’s least expensive city. The Mercer survey also found that Luanda was three times as costly as Karachi.

For the first time, the ranking of the world’s top 10 most expensive cities includes three African urban centres: Luanda (1) in Angola, Ndjamena (3) in Chad and Libreville (7) in Gabon.

The top ten also includes three Asian cities; Tokyo (2), Osaka (6) and Hong Kong (jointly ranked 8). Moscow (4), Geneva (5) and Zurich (joint 8) are the most expensive European cities, followed by Copenhagen (10).

According to Wiesner, in the past couple of years, corporate assignments have become truly global, with expatriates and ‘global assignees’ being transferred across all parts of the world.

'However, global mobility is still an expensive undertaking for companies, so selection of  right candidates and a real understanding of the costs involved in relocating staff to other countries are essential - especially in today’s economic environment,' he pointed out.

“Our cities are selected based on requests from our multinational clients,” he continued, “Notably African cities now figure prominently reflecting the growing economic importance of the region to global companies across all business sectors,” Wiesner added.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: abu dhabi | cost of living | Dubai | Mercer | expats | affordable |

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