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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

Abu Dhabi and Dubai most expensive Middle East cities to live in

This year, Dubai ranked the 21st most expensive city in the world, up from 23 last year, while the capital came in number 25, up from 33 last year.
Dubai and Abu Dhabi have risen up the rankings, following the Middle East trend of countries becoming more expensive to live in. Pawan Singh / The National
Dubai and Abu Dhabi have risen up the rankings, following the Middle East trend of countries becoming more expensive to live in. Pawan Singh / The National

ABU DHABI // Abu Dhabi and Dubai are among the most expensive cities in the world to live, a survey revealed.

Dubai ranked the 21st most expensive city, up from 23 last year, while the capital came in at 25, up from 33.

These moves followed a trend across the Middle East.

Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive city, knocking the Angolan capital Luanda into second spot.

Rob Thissen, of Mercer Middle East, the consultancy that conducted the survey, attributed much of the change in circumstances to fluctuations in exchange rates.

“The main reason Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and in fact almost all cities in the Middle East, increased in rank is that their currencies are pegged to the US dollar,” Mr Thissen said.

“Riyadh, for instance, is rated more expensive than Rome.”

Mr Thissen said rental charges paid by expats were also a factor in moving the Middle East’s cities up the rankings.

Zurich and Singapore were third and fourth, unchanged from last year. Tokyo rose to fifth, from number 11 last year.

In England, London fell from 12th to 17th place.

Several cities experienced a jump in world rankings not just ­because of a high increase in rental costs for accommodation, particularly in Abu Dhabi and Jeddah, but also because of a decrease in living costs elsewhere.

Beirut is the third most expensive city in the Middle East and 50th globally, down from 44th last year, and is tied with Amman in Jordan.

Riyadh is the 57th most expensive city in the world, up from 71 last year, while Manama, Bahrain, is number 71, up from 91.

Doha is 76th, up from 99th last year, while Muscat ranks 94th, jumping from joint 117th last year.

Kuwait City is 103rd, climbing from 117th, and Jeddah moved up to 121st from 151st place.

The rankings combine day-to-day expenditure on goods and services such as food, clothing and transport, with rental prices.

“While prices of most goods and services are considered to be cheaper in Saudi Arabia ­compared with Europe, it is the expatriate rental market that pushes cities like Riyadh and Jeddah up the ranking,” Mr Thissen said.

“What this means is that once again, cities in our region have become more expensive to send people to, with expatriates expecting increased cost of living and housing allowances.”

newsdesk@thenational.ae