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Karachi is World’s least expensive city for expats

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The world’s least expensive city for expatriates is Karachi, said Mercer Worldwide Cost of Living Survey.

The capital of oil-rich but poverty-stricken Angola is the world’s most expensive city for expatriates, the survey said. Other developing African and Asian cities were also among the priciest in the world.

Luanda knocked the Japanese capital Tokyo off the top of this year’s. Tokyo, regularly rated as one of the world’s most expensive cities, was in the second slot while Ndjamena, the capital of impoverished, violence-ridden Chad, came in third.

The survey, which covers 214 cities across five continents and measures the comparative costs of more than 200 items in each location, said developing cities were actually more expensive for expats to live in than Western cities such as New York or Washington D.C., usually viewed as being pricey. “Many people assume that cities in the developing world are cheap but this isn’t necessarily true for expatriates working there,” Mercer senior researcher Nathalie Constantin-Metralsaid in a statement.

“We’ve seen demand increase for information on African cities from across the business spectrum — mining, financial services, airlines, manufacturers, utilities and energy companies.” The ranking is based on the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment. New York is used as the base city for the index and currency movements are measured against the US dollar.

Asia’s cities are also among the world’s most expensive for expat postings: apart from Tokyo which is ranked second, Osaka comes in at 6 and Hong Kong is tied with Zurich at 8.

Oslo at 11, Milan at 15, and London and Paris, both at 17, were the most expensive cities in Europe while the least expensive city in Europe was Tirana in Albania.

Living in the Middle East isn’t cheap either: Tel Aviv (19) was the most expensive city in the Middle East, followed by Abu Dhabi (50) and Dubai (55). Tripoli (186) in Libya was the least expensive Middle Eastern location.

“Accommodation costs have continued to decrease in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, driving down the cost of living for expats,” Constantin-Metral said.

Brazil’s commercial capital Sao Paulo (21) was the most expensive city in all of the Americas, a result of the strengthening of the currency against the dollar.

In the US, New York (27) was the most expensive city, followed by Los Angeles (55). Washington, D.C., was ranked 111 and the least expensive U.S. city was Winston-Salem in North Carolina (197).

And the world’s least expensive city of expats? The Mercer survey said it was Karachi in Pakistan.AFP

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