UAE getting cheaper says new survey
UAE residents should have more dirhams in their pockets as it’s now less expensive to live in the Emirates, according to a new survey.
Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi have fallen in this year’s ‘most expensive city in the world’ study.
The latest worldwide cost-of-living poll from data crunchers Mercer showed Abu Dhabi dropped nine places to 76 - while Dubai, which was the 20th most expensive place in 2009, has now plummeted to 94, a drop of 13 spots from 81 last year. Rising costs in the Lebanese capital of Beirut has seen it leapfrog both UAE hubs to become the most expensive city in the Middle East, ranked 67.
“With the dirham pegged to the US dollar and the US dollar strengthening, that should mean Abu Dhabi and Dubai should be more expensive,” said Zaid Kamhawi, a Dubai-based consultant with Mercer. “But despite that the slower rises in prices are making up for that rise in currency and it’s becoming cheaper.”
That news could be a boon for business.
“Three or four years ago, the UAE was a good place to do good business but it was an expensive place to do business,” says HSBC’s Middle East chief economist Simon Williams. “The quantum of shift (in the results) seems a little on the large side but an underlying trend of falling costs when they’re rising sharply in other emerging markets is good for long term growth out here.”
Mercer consultant Tom O’Byrne added: “Abu Dhabi and Dubai - relative to other parts of the world - are places where companies might want to be sending their workers.”
Mercer’s results are based on costs of 200 goods and services. They include rent, transportation costs, the price of a coffee and cinema tickets.
Tokyo, where a newspaper will set you back the equivalent of Dhs22, has regained the dubious title of the most expensive city on earth.
Oil-export rich Luanda, the capital of Angola, West Africa - where the rental cost of an average two-bedroom apartment is a staggering Dhs23,500 per month - is second. Mercer reckoned Karachi in Pakistan is the cheapest city.