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St. Petersburg and Moscow Become More Affordable for Expats

Published: July 11, 2014 (Issue # 1819)



  • St. Petersburg, Russia's cultural capital, fell 12 places to 35th on Mercer's annual list of the world's most expensive cities for expats.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Moscow has slipped seven places to ninth on an annual list of the world's most expensive cities for expats.

The rankings for 2014, published Thursday by global human resources consulting firm Mercer, were compiled based on the comparative cost of more than 200 goods and services, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment in 211 cities.

Moscow placed second last year — making it the most expensive city in Europe for emigres — but almost slipped out of the top 10 thanks to a dramatic weakening of the ruble against the dollar, exacerbated by the drama of Western sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

Moscow's European title has been handed over to Zurich, which came fifth in the standings. Geneva in sixth place and Bern in eighth have also overtaken Moscow over the last year.

St. Petersburg, Russia's cultural capital, fell 12 places to 35th.

First place was taken — for the second year in a row — by Luanda, the capital of Angola. N'Djamena in Chad and Hong Kong fill out 2014's top three.

Ed Hannibal, a partner at Mercer's Mobility, explained the high rankings of the two African cities by saying that while they are both relatively inexpensive, they end up being pricey for expats because of the high cost of importing goods.

Added to that, accommodation that meets the standards of expats is also very expensive there, Hannibal said.

Other cities in the top 10 include Singapore in fourth and Shanghai in 10th.

New York, in 16th place, is the most expensive city in North America.

Despite seeing moderate price increases, Western European cities — particularly those in Britain and Germany — tended to move up in the rankings, mainly due to the strengthening of local currencies against the dollar, said Nathalie Constantin-Metral, who compiled the rankings.

Glasgow leapt 49 places to 108th, while Berlin jumped from 99th to 68th.





 

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russia’s most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkin’s, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontov’s short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library System’s website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Club’s weekly meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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