Beirut overtakes Abu Dhabi and Dubai, becoming the most expensive city for expatriates in the Middle East region, after Tel Aviv
According to Mercer’s latest Cost of Living survey Tokyo has become the world’s most expensive city for expatriates, pushing Luanda, Angola to second place while Karachi, Pakistan is ranked as the world least expensive city. The survey covers 214 cities across continents in the world and measures the relative costs (using NYC as base) of the 200 most significant expenses for expatriates. Mercer’s cost of living survey “is the world’s most comprehensive and is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees.”
Interestingly most Middle Eastern cities have dropped in rankings, according to Nathalie Constantin-Métral, Principal at Mercer this is “mainly because price increases on goods and services have been more moderate here than in our benchmark city, New York. Slight decreases in expatriate accommodation costs were also observed in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.”
Nevertheless, this is not true for Beirut (at spot 67), where living expenses are now the highest after Tel Aviv for the region. Beirut has gone up eight places from last year, and has overtaken Abu Dhabi (76, down nine places from last year) and Dubai (94, falling 13 places). These rising living expenses in Beirut are not hurting expatriates only, but locals too that face costs and prices that are not in line with average wages.
The large inflow and scale of investments from Gulf States in Beirut, are partly to blame for inflating the retail markets and creating a largely inflated economic situation in Lebanon, which is witnessing a shrinking middle class and a considerable exodus of young students to the US, Canada, Australia, Argentina and the UK.
In any case, if you are looking to work in the Middle East, North Africa region Tunisia (ranks at 209) remains the least expensive city in the region! Time for a change?
Image of Lebanese Lira from Shutterstock