Are we about to get the most out of our dirhams?

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A new survey has revealed that Abu Dhabi has dropped down the list of the most expensive cities for expats to live in.

The Mercer Cost of Living survey, conducted every six months, ranked Abu Dhabi 40th on the list of 209 cities, a drop of 22 places since the last survey. Neighbouring Dubai also dropped nine places, but remains above Abu Dhabi in 26th position.

However, Rob Thissen, senior associate at Mercer Middle East, explained that Abu Dhabi experiencing a fall in the rankings doesn’t mean that the cost of living in the UAE  is getting cheaper.

“The UAE has gone down the rankings but it is a relative ranking, it compares Abu Dhabi and Dubai with other cities around the world,” explains Rob.

“The reason Abu Dhabi has fallen in the ranking is not because inflation has fallen in the UAE but due to factors including the exchange rate and also the state of the property market.”

According to data by the International Monetary Fund, inflation in the UAE – that’s when there’s a general increase in prices and the value of money decreases – sits at 4.2 percent, higher than the global average of 3.05 percent, having increased since the introduction of VAT on 1st January.

“If you focus on Abu Dhabi itself, generally prices have gone up based on data collected on the cost of day-to-day items,” adds Rob.

“However, if you also consider the exchange rate and the cost of property decreasing, then the overall ranking of the UAE has gone down in comparison to other cities around the world.”

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