Muscat among most affordable cities in GCC and Middle East

Source: Muscat Daily | By Muhaimin Sada | Published on 30th March 2017, 6:00 PM | Gulf News |

Muscat: Muscat along with Al Khobar and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia are the most affordable cities to live in the GCC and the wider Middle East region. They are ranked 103 on the Worldwide Cost of Living 2017 index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

A ranking of the world’s major cities, the 2017 index shows Singapore retaining its spot as the most expensive city in the world. Asia is now home to five out of the top six most expensive cities in the survey as Asian cities have become comparatively more expensive.

In third place overall, Zurich is the most expensive European city, while New York is the sole North American city in the top ten. Amman holds the dubious distinction of being the most expensive city in the Middle East with a ranking of 29. Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Istanbul are placed on 62nd place, while Bahrain is ranked 86th.

Doha, Kuwait City and Cairo are ranked 99th, while Muscat, Al Khobar and Jeddah get 103rd rank. Singapore retains its title as the world’s most expensive city for the fourth consecutive year. Not only has Singapore stayed on top but Hong Kong remains second, closely followed by Zurich.

The latest survey has also seen a return to the top ten most expensive cities for Tokyo and Osaka. Tokyo which was the world’s most expensive city until 2012, has moved seven places up the ranking owing to a sustained recovery in the strength of the Japanese yen.

With the strength of the US dollar moderating and the euro remaining relatively stable, currencies such as the Canadian dollar, the Australian dollar and the New Zealand dollar have appreciated in value, stated the survey. As a result, Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, and Wellington and Auckland in New Zealand all feature among the 20 most expensive cities.

“Although the relative cost of living has fallen slightly in the Swiss cities of Zurich and Geneva, both remain cemented among the ten most expensive, in third place and joint seventh place respectively. Joining Geneva in seventh place is Paris, which has featured among the ten most expensive cities for 15 years, although the relative cost of living in Paris has moderated. Currently, living in Paris is seven per cent more expensive than living in New York, but just five years ago it was 50 per cent pricier,” said the report.

Asia is home to not only some of the world’s most expensive cities but also to many of the world’s cheapest cities. Within Asia, the best value for money has traditionally come from particularly those in India and Pakistan. “To an extent this remains true, and Bengaluru, Chennai, Karachi, Mumbai and New Delhi make up half of the ten cheapest locations surveyed,” reported the survey.

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