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Bucharest, cheaper to live in for expats, ranking shows

Bucharest has slid down 19 positions in the top 207 most expensive cities for expats, according to the human resource consultancy Mercer’s 2015 Cost of Living ranking released on Wednesday. Romania’s Capital is thus ranking 178th this year compared to 159th last year. In 2013 Bucharest ranked 169th.

The study shows that many Eastern European cities actually dropped in rankings due to the Euro’s weakening against the U.S. dollar. “European currencies have weakened against the U.S. dollar which pushed most Western European cities down in the ranking,” Mercer said. “Additionally, other factors like the Euro zone’s economy, falling interest rates, and increasing unemployment have impacted these cities.”

Prague also slid down ranking 142nd, Budapest- 170th and Minsk-200th. Sofia reached the 187th position and Belgrade the 196th, while remaining cheaper than Bucharest. Warsaw gets to the 175th position from the 142nd one.

The survey reveals that African, Asian, and European cities dominated the top 10 most expensive locations for employees working abroad.

Luanda, the capital of oil-rich Angola, which has once again topped Mercer ranking. “Despite being recognized as a relatively inexpensive city, the cost of imported goods and safe living conditions in this country are available at a steep price,” said Mercer of Luanda, which typically attracts expatriates that work for multinationals operating in the energy or diamond sectors.

Hong Kong follows Luanda as the second most expensive city, a reflection of the relative resilience of its local currency, the Hong Kong dollar, which is pegged to the greenback.

Zurich, Singapore and Geneva ranked third, fourth and fifth respectively. Rounding out the top 10 were Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, Bern and N’Djamena, the capital of Chad.

About Alina Grigoras Butu