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Beirut is the most expensive Arab city

BEIRUT | July 20, 2014, 09h02
 expensive Arab city Beirut
Mercer Consulting's annual survey on the cost of living in 211 cities around the world ranked Beirut as the 63rd most expensive city worldwide and the most expensive among 19 Arab cities surveyed in 2014, Byblos Bank ‘Lebanon This Week’ reported.
It also considered Beirut to be the 14th most expensive city among the 50 cities in 38 Upper Middle Income Countries (UMICs) included in the survey. In comparison, Beirut was the 76th most expensive city worldwide and the second most expensive in the Arab world in 2013.

The cost of living in Beirut increased relative to other cities, as its global rank rose by 13 spots in this year's survey, constituting the fourth largest rise among Arab cities behind Dubai (+23 spots), Casablanca (+18 spots) and Algiers (+15 spots).

The study measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including the cost of housing, food, clothing and household goods, as well as transportation and entertainment. The figures are derived from a survey conducted in March 2014.

New York City is used as the base city for the index and all cities are compared against it. The survey is conducted annually to help multinational companies determine compensation allowances for their expatriate workers.

On a global basis, the cost of living in Beirut is similar to that in Madrid, and higher than in Rio de Janeiro, Yangon in Myanmar and Dubai; while Beirut has a lower cost of living than Frankfurt, Taipei in Taiwan and Los Angeles.

Among UMICs, Beirut was considered to be more expensive than Rio de Janeiro, Chengdu in China and Tehran; while it was less costly than Sao Paulo, as well as Tianjin and Shenyang in China.

Beirut's ranking was mainly due to the high cost of unfurnished housing (lower than New York), personal leisure and sports (higher than New York), transportation cost (higher than New York) and the cost of utilities (higher than New York).

Mercer indicated that it compares the cost of high-end items that are important to expatriates and their employers, such as upscale residential areas and entertainment venues.

The survey shows that the rankings of 16 out of the 19 Arab cities increased in the 2014 survey. The survey included four non-Arab cities from the region, as Tel Aviv ranked in 18th place globally compared to 32nd place in the 2013 survey and Tehran came in 77th place relative to 53rd place last year.

Also, Limassol ranked in 113th place compared to 127th place in last year's survey and Istanbul came in 135th place relative to 85th place in 2013. Luanda in Angola remained the world's most expensive city, while Karachi in Pakistan maintained its status as the least costly city worldwide.
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