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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Friday, July 21, 2017

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Dubai ranked world’s 20th most expensive city for expats, while Abu Dhabi rises two places from last year

Cost of housing, goods and services

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DUBAI, U.A.E. - According to a survey released by Mercer, Dubai has been ranked as the world’s 20th most expensive city for expats to live in the world.> BNN
Mercer’s 2017 cost of living survey has revealed that the rising cost of housing and good have led to higher cost of living in the city. 
Meanwhile, the survey saw Abu Dhabi rising two places in the list of most expensive from last year, moving to the 23rd position, driven by rising cost of housing, goods and services.
Among the least expensive cities in the Middle East were Riyadh, which climbed five places over its 2016 ranking and was listed on the 52nd spot, while Jeddah was ranked 117th and Muscat was ranked 92nd.
According to predictions by U.K.-based Knight Frank, rentals in Dubai will “move up” from mid-2017 as the Emirate continues preparations for Expo 2020.
It said that rents in Abu Dhabi will decline, the three percent housing fee on annual rent is expected to “increase cost pressures on households.”
It said that the Gulf countries will also introduce five percent value-added tax (VAT) from January 1, 2018, which will increase the cost of living.
The Mercer survey meanwhile showed that Cairo fell 92 places compared to 2016, following a sharp devaluation in its local currency. 
Cairo, ranked 183rd on the list, was the least expensive city in the Middle East.
Nathalie Constantin-Metral, principal at Mercer who compiled the survey ranking said in a statement, “Egypt's decision to allow its currency to float freely in return for a $12 billion loan over three years to help strengthen its economy resulted in the massive devaluation of the Egyptian Pound by more than 100 percent against the US dollar, pushing Cairo down the ranking.”
The costliest city for expats in the world was Angola’s capital Luanda.
It was attributed to the increasing cost of goods and security. 
Hong Kong was ranked in the second spot, while Tokyo, Zurich, Singapore, Seoul, Geneva, Shanghai, New York City and Bern featured on the top ten on the list.
The three least expensive cities for expatriates were Skopje ranked 206, Bishkek ranked 208 and Tunis ranked 209.
Further, as a result of the pound weakening against the U.S. dollar following the Brexit vote, London dropped 13 spots and was ranked on the 30th spot, while Aberdeen fell 61 spots, ranking on the 146th position and Birmingham dropped 51 spots, being ranked on the 147th spot.
According to Kate Fitzpatrick, Mercer's Global Mobility Practice Leader for the U.K. & Ireland, “Currency fluctuations, including the weakening of both the British Pound and the Euro against the U.S. Dollar, have had a major impact on this year's rankings.”
Mumbai, India’s most expensive city climbed 25 positions, being ranked at the 57the spot - due to its rapid economic growth, inflation on the goods and services basket.
Mercer's survey covered 209 cities across five continents and measures costs in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

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