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Wed 26 Jun 2019 02:10 PM

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How Gulf cities compare globally for expat cost of living

Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh rank among the most expensive cities for expats regionally, according to Mercer report

How Gulf cities compare globally for expat cost of living

Dubai has been named as the most expensive cities for expatriates in the Middle East in the 2019 Cost of Living survey published by consultants Mercer.

Dubai (21), Abu Dhabi (33) and Riyadh (35) ranked among the most expensive cities regionally, with the results reflecting the continued success of the UAE’s drive to diversify and mature its economy.

Vladimir Vrzhovski, global mobility consultant, Mercer MENA said: “Due to the strong performance of the US Dollar versus the Euro, the countries with currencies which are pegged to the USD, like the UAE dirham, have risen in the ranking compared to most of the European cities.

"While cities in the UAE have risen up the rankings for cost of living, the country continues to be an appealing location for expats due to highly competitive compensation packages, falling real estate prices, high safety standards, and a healthy economy.

"Local inflation level has come down for the last 12 months due to falling rental prices and the full phase in of the VAT implementation.”

Globally, the costliest city in the world for the second consecutive year was Hong Kong, with eight out of the top 10 being Asian cities.

Tokyo (2), Singapore (3) and Seoul (4) were followed by Zurich (5), Shanghai (6), Ashgabat (7), Beijing (8), New York City (9), and Shenzhen (10).

The world’s least expensive cities for expatriates are Tunis (209), Tashkent (208), and Karachi (207), according to the report.

Mumbai (67) was named India’s most expensive city, followed by New Delhi (118) and Chennai (154) while Bengaluru (179) and Kolkata (189) are the least expensive.

Ilya Bonic, president of Mercer’s Career business said: “In a skill-focused economy driven by digital disruption and the need for a globally connected workforce, deploying expatriate employees is an increasingly important aspect of a competitive business strategy for global companies.

“There are numerous personal and organizational advantages for sending employees overseas, including career development, global experience, new skillsets, and re-allocation of resources. By offering fair and competitive compensation packages, organizations can facilitate moves that drive business results,” he added.

Mercer's survey includes 209 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.