The cost of living in Dubai is rising rapidly compared with that in other countries, an international cost of living survey revealed yesterday.
According to the latest global study by UBS, Dubai is now the 22nd most expensive city in the world - five places higher on UBS's rankings than it was last year - and still the most expensive city in the Middle East.
However, prices in the city remain comparatively lower than they were in UBS's 2009 study, when the city came 19th in the world.
Researchers at the Swiss bank ranked the 72 most expensive cities in the world by comparing the cost in each of a basket of goods and services in May. It included food, groceries, hygiene and healthcare products, household devices and transport.
It found prices in Dubai were now 78.1 per cent of those in New York, more expensive than cities such as Amsterdam, Doha, Miami, Hong Kong and Moscow. The Norwegian capital Oslo and the Swiss city Zurich came top of the list, while the Indian cities New Delhi and Mumbai came bottom. Doha was ranked 36th.
The average monthly cost of a basket of food in Dubai stood at Dh1,781 (US$484), according to the study, 12.2 per cent less than the same basket would cost in New York where it fetched Dh2,027. In London it cost only Dh1,601 while in expensive Zurich it cost Dh2,586 and in Delhi just Dh764.
When the cost of renting a home was included in the findings, Dubai jumped to joint 12th most expensive city in the world alongside Frankfurt, overtaking both Rome and Chicago - despite the fact that apartment rents in the Emirates city are now an estimated 30 per cent lower than in 2009. Average monthly rents in the city stood at Dh8,998 while house prices were about Dh14,508 per square metre.
As prices climbed, demands for wage increases also rose.
UBS found the average hourly wage in Dubai stood at Dh59.50, making the city the 33rd highest payer in the world in terms of gross earnings with wage levels 49.6 per cent of the New York average. However, when tax was taken into consideration, this jumped to 64.2 per cent of the average New Yorker's take-home pay.
When both prices and wages were taken into consideration, the study found Dubai residents had the 27th highest purchasing power in the world, placing the city ahead of Barcelona and Brussels but well behind high paying cities such as Zurich and Sydney.
The study also found on average employees in Dubai would have to work for 46.5 hours to be able to afford an iPhone 4S and 12 minutes to buy a Big Mac. By contrast, in Zurich, the highest-paying city, workers had to put in just 22 hours to buy an iPhone and 13 minutes to buy a Big Mac, while in Delhi the average employee would have to work for 369.5 hours to buy an iPhone and more than an hour to buy a Big Mac.
On average, workers in Dubai clocked up 2,096 working hours a year - 538 more than Parisians but 169 fewer than workers in Delhi.