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Cost of living goes up for expatriates in Muscat, finds survey

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The cost of living for expatriates in Muscat has gone up since last year with Mercer’s 2016 Cost of Living Survey ranking the city at 94, a jump of 23 places since 2015.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been ranked the most expensive cities to live in across the Middle East, according to the survey. The global rankings see Dubai as the 21st most expensive city in the world, a rise of two places in comparison to last year, with Abu Dhabi, 25th in world,from 33 last year. The two UAE cities have experienced a rise in their world rankings in this respect, following the wider Middle Eastern trend of GCC countries becoming more expensive.

Rob Thissen, talent mobility consultant at Mercer Middle East, said, “Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and in fact almost all cities in the Middle East countries jumped in rank because their currencies are pegged to the US dollar, with Riyadh for instance currently rated more expensive than Rome.”

There are many Middle East cities in the world’s top 100, with a strong showing primarily from the GCC countries.

One Levant city, Beirut, is positioned as the third most expensive city in the Middle East and 50th globally, down from 44th last year. Beirut is tied with Amman, Jordan representing a rise of four places from last year.

Returning to the GCC, Riyadh is the 57th most expensive city in the world, a significant rise from its 71st place last year, Manama sees its ranking at 71 compared to 91 last year; Doha is 76th up from 99 last year; Muscat comes in at 94 jumping from 117 last year; Kuwait City is at 103 from 117 in 2015 and Jeddah at 121 from 151 last year.

Thissen added, “These rankings uniquely combine day-to-day expenditure on goods and services such as food, clothing and transportation, with rental prices. While prices of most goods and services are considered to be cheaper in Saudi Arabia compared to Europe, it is the expatriate rental market that pushes cities like Riyadh and Jeddah up the ranking.”