2015 Cost of Living Survey: Dubai and Abu Dhabi Most Expensive Cities in Middle East

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Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been ranked as the 23rd and 33rd most expensive cities to live in (respectively) according to Mercer’s 2015 Cost of Living Survey. The two cities have experienced a significant jump compared to 2014, with Dubai soaring 44 places from last year’s position at 67 and Abu Dhabi going up 35 places 68th in 2014.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the most expensive cities in the Middle East for expatriates, as Jeddah (151) continues to be the least expensive city in the region despite rising 24 places.

Significant increase in the cost of living ranking is seen among almost all major Middle East cities, both Manama (91) and Doha (99) moved up 59 places, Amman (54) moved up 49 places, Riyadh (71) moved up 40 places, Kuwait City (117) moved up 30 places, and Beirut (44), the most expensive Middle Eastern city after Dubai and Abu Dhabi, moved up 19 places.

Three European cities exist in the list of top 10 most expensive cities for expatriates. Zurich (3), the most costly European city, is followed by Geneva (5) and Bern (9). Switzerland remains one of the most expensive locations for expatriates due to the surge of the Swiss franc against the EUR. In looking again at the movement of the CHF against USD, the USD actually strengthened against the CHF, and not the opposite. Moscow (50) and St. Petersburg (152) dropped 41 and 117 spots, respectively, as a result of Russia’s ruble losing significant value against the US dollar, lower oil prices, and a lack of confidence in the currency following Western sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine.

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