Jun 29 2010

Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2010 - city ranking

Mercer study reveals cost of living remains stable for expats in Abu Dhabi and Dubai
Dubai ranked at 55, and Abu Dhabi at 50
Luanda in Angola is the world's most expensive city for expatriates; Karachi is the cheapest
Top 10 ranked cities dominated by Africa, Europe and Asia

Falling accommodation costs are helping Dubai and Abu Dhabi remain relatively affordable cities in which to live, according to a new global study by the HR consulting firm Mercer.

Mercer's 2010 Cost of Living Survey out today shows that Dubai is ranked the 55th most expensive city for expats, tying with Los Angeles, California. Abu Dhabi is ranked 50th in the same survey, tying with Frankfurt, Germany, and is ranked the most expensive city in the Middle East.

Other cities across the GCC were ranked as follows: Manama, Bahrain (139), Riyadh, KSA (144), Doha, Qatar (146), Kuwait City, Kuwait (152), Muscat, Oman (176), and Jeddah, KSA (181).

The Mercer Cost of Living Survey data is the most comprehensive in the world and is used by firms and governments to help determine remuneration for expats being relocated to cities across the globe.

Dr. Markus Wiesner, who heads the Dubai office, says Mercer increased the number of cities surveyed this year from 143 to 214 which means that cities cannot be compared against previous rankings.

"While across the UAE the cost of living has remained relatively stable, we are seeing that accommodation costs have continued to decrease in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, driving down the cost of living for expats."

Luanda in Angola is the world's most expensive city for expatriates, while Tokyo is in second position, with Ndjamena in Chad in third place. Moscow is in fourth position followed by Geneva in fifth while Karachi is ranked as the world's least expensive city. The survey found that Luanda is three times as costly as Karachi.

The survey covers 214 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. All cities are compared against New York as the base city for the index. Currency movements are measured against the US dollar. The cost of housing - often the biggest expense for expats - plays an important part in determining where cities are ranked.

For the first time, the ranking of the world's top 10 most expensive cities includes three African urban centres: Luanda (1) in Angola, Ndjamena (3) in Chad and Libreville (7) in Gabon. The top ten also includes three Asian cities; Tokyo (2), Osaka (6) and Hong Kong (jointly ranked 8). Moscow (4), Geneva (5) and Zurich (joint 8) are the most expensive European cities, followed by Copenhagen (10).

Mr Wiesner added: "In the past couple of years, corporate assignments have become truly global, with expatriates and 'global assignees' being transferred across all parts of the world. However, global mobility is still an expensive undertaking for companies, so selection of the right candidates and a real understanding of the costs involved in relocating staff to other countries are essential - especially in today's economic environment."

"Our cities are selected based on requests from our multinational clients," he continued, "Notably African cities now figure prominently reflecting the growing economic importance of the region to global companies across all business sectors."

Individual cost of living and rental accommodation cost reports are produced for each city surveyed. For further information or to purchase copies of the city reports, visit www.mercer.com/costofliving2010, or call Client Services, Warsaw on +48 22 434 5383.

Important: The figures for Mercer's Cost of Living and rental accommodation costs comparisons are based on a survey conducted in March 2010 with March 2010 exchange rates. March exchange rates correspond to the monthly average exchange rates of February. The 2010 comparisons are based on a similar survey conducted in March 2009. However, the weighting of the basket of goods used in 2009 has been changed for 2010; a few additional items have been added. Additional cities have been added to the 2010 rankings. A direct comparison with the 2009 rankings is therefore not possible.

The information is used by governments and major companies to protect the purchasing power of their employees when transferred abroad; rental accommodation costs data is used to assess local expatriate housing allowances. The choice of cities surveyed is based on the demand for corresponding data from companies and governmental organizations.


About Mercer
Mercer is the leading global provider of consulting, outsourcing and investment services. From its GCC headquarters in Dubai, Mercer teams work with clients across the region to solve their most complex benefit and human capital issues. Mercer is the world's largest HR consulting firm, with revenue of US$3.5B. It is the global market share leader in retirement, health & benefits and investment consulting. It is an advisor to nine out of ten Fortune 100 companies. It has been judged the most trusted HR consulting brand in the world. Mercer is a truly global firm serving clients in more than 40 countries and 180 cities worldwide. Mercer has been rated the most prestigious HR consulting firm to work for. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., which lists its stock (ticker symbol: MMC) on the New York, Chicago and London stock exchanges. For more information, visit http://me.mercer.com

Shaden Abdellatif
Hill and Knowlton
050 - 39 69 583

© Press Release 2010

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