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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

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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