Samuel Kutty –
MUSCAT, MARCH 30 –
Muscat received yet another feather in its cap with the capital city getting a ranking as one of the most affordable cities to live in the GCC and the wider Middle East region.
The Worldwide Cost of Living 2017 index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit placed Muscat along with two Saudi Arabian cities Al Khobar and Jeddah on the 103rd position as the most affordable cities.
In September last year, Muscat was ranked in ninth place worldwide in the ‘Social Sustainability’ category in the Arcadis ‘Sustainable cities index report 2016’.
Muscat was also ranked high in the ‘People sub-index’ and is also the only city in the Middle East that was ranked in the top ten globally.
A total of 133 cities were surveyed in the Worldwide Cost of Living 2017 index. Doha, Kuwait City and Cairo received 99th ranking, while Riyadh is ranked as the cheapest GCC city with 112th position. Singapore retained its spot as the most expensive city in the world most expensive city for the fourth consecutive year, Hong Kong remains second, closely followed by Zurich. New York is the sole North American city in the top ten.
“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”, a report on the ranking said.
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”, states 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,” points out the report.