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Beirut and Dubai among top 50 most expensive cities

Tokyo is no longer the most expensive city in the world to live in, according to a recent survey conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

Tokyo is no longer the most expensive city in the world to live in, according to a recent survey conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

The worldwide cost of living survey released on Monday July 8 positions Hong Kong as the world’s most expensive city and Asia as the most expensive region in the world. The runner up was Moscow followed up by Tokyo, which has dropped, from first place.

Johannesburg was ranked as the cheapest city to live in replacing Blantyre in Malawi.

The survey maintains that the gap between the world’s most and least expensive cities is narrowing. In the last year alone, the difference has reduced by nearly 15 per cent.

Marie-Laurence Sépède, Senior Researcher at Mercer, said: “Increasing globalisation means that international companies are now producing more high-quality items locally, reducing the need for imports. This particularly affects the living costs for expatriates in developing countries who often pay a premium for imported food and household goods from the West.”

Also, many currencies were devalued against the dollar last year and this, together with New York moving up a place in the rankings, has reduced the score for a number of cities.

The survey, which covers 144 cities, measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location. These include housing, food, clothing and household goods, together with transport and entertainment. The data is used to assist multinational companies in determining compensation allowances for their expatriate workers.

In North America, New York is the most expensive city to live in. Buenos Aires, which has been in the news as a result of its economic woes, has dropped from rank 23 in 2001 to rank 133 this year.

In the EU, London is by far the most expensive city, and has moved back into the world’s top 10 – rising to joint 10th position from 12th place last year. The report attributes the city’s ascension to high accommodation and transport costs as well as high duty on items such as alcohol and tobacco.

After London, Copenhagen is now the next most expensive city, followed by Milan, Dublin and Paris.

In the Middle East and Africa the situation is mixed. Cairo, has been suffering from the devaluation of its currency and the economic consequences of 11th September, particularly regarding tourism, dropping down from position 39 to position 51 (score 72.9).

The cost of living in the Middle Eastern cities has been stable, with Beirut in 18th position and Dubai in 45th place, showing little movement from last year.

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