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Rents push Bucharest up seven places among world's most expensive cities
4 sep 2008The increase in real estate prices and the strengthening of the domestic currency against the dollar have pushed Bucharest up to the middle of the ranking of the world's most expensive cities.
Bucharest climbed seven places in the ranking against last year, and is the only city in Romania included in the survey conducted by Mercer, one of the biggest human resources advisory firms in the world, part of the Marsh & McLennan Companies.
In 2007, Bucharest, ranked 78th, with 79.6 points; it has accumulated 83.6 points within one year, moving up to 71st, which puts it at the middle of the ranking that comprises 143 cities.
"The reason behind Bucharest's move is the upward trend of the domestic currency against the US dollar, so that an expat from an American company finds it is more difficult to buy the necessary daily basket.
"The US dollar has lost 3.52% against the RON in the past year. The development of the real estate market and the increase in prices on this market, especially in Bucharest, is yet another reason why living costs have jumped," explained Cristian Fugaciu, CEO of Marsh Romania, a company that represents Mercer on the local market on the Health & Benefits segment.
As for quality of life, Bucharest ranks 108 among 215 cities in the world, according to another Mercer index compiled last year.
Moscow is the world's most expensive city for expats for the third year in a row, followed by Tokyo and London. Oslo climbed six places to fourth, followed by Seoul to fifth.
Asuncion, Paraguay, is the cheapest city in Mercer's survey for the sixth year on end. The top ten positions are occupied by European and Asian cities.
Most European cities moved up because of the strengthening of domestic currencies against the dollar. For instance, Prague climbed 20 places and Istanbul 15.
The Central and Eastern European capitals that left Bucharest behind in terms of costs of living are Prague (29), Warsaw (35) and Bratislava (45).
Europe's cheapest city is again Sofia, Bulgaria's capital, which ranks 97th, with a score of 76.9 points. The city used as reference for the survey was New York, which got 100 points and is the only city in the US among the top 50, ranked at 22nd.
Moscow scored 142.4 points and is almost three times more expensive than Asuncion, whose score is 52.5. Contrary to the trend of the previous years, the gap between the most expensive and the cheapest cities has widened.
Mercer's survey analysed 143 cities across six continents and compared the costs of more than 200 products and services in each, which included real estate, transport, clothing, food, home appliances and entertainment costs.
Articol publicat în ediţia tipărită a Ziarului Financiar din data de 04.09.2008
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