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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

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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