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World’s most expensive cities and Big Mac minutes…

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How many minutes do you need to work to afford a Big Mac? Tokyo only needs 9.

September 15, 2012 10:09 by



While Dubai’s fast paced track on the road to economic recovery poses as positive news for financial and corporate potential, negative ramifications of the city’s rising cost of living follow not too far behind. UBS, in an international study, where 72 cities around the globe were ranked on the basis of healthcare, grocery costs, rent, transport and others factors, has placed Dubai as the 22nd most expensive city to live in.

It has moved 5 paces from last year and still remains the priciest city in the Middle East.

Considering that apartment rent rates in the Emirate are approximately 30 per cent lower than they were in 2009, the Middle Eastern business hub still squirmed its way to the 12th rank. On the plus side, the Emirate was ranked as the 33rd highest payer of salaries with an average of AED 59 per hour.

What Kipp found particularly amusing about the 42-year old study is that it also measures how many minutes of work are needed (in each city) to buy a Big Mac. It is referred to as the Big Mac Index, used to compare and measure the purchasing power of working residents. For instance, in Tokyo, which has been revised to the third most expensive city, it takes 9 minutes of work to afford a Big Mac burger while in a city like Nairobi; it takes 84 minutes of work.

The dilemma of Dubai’s rising cost of living versus the “unmatched” pace of salary hikes has always been a topic of in-depth discussion and controversy, but on the other hand, according to a study by Robert Half UAE, almost 40 percent of expatriates have an unreasonable salary expectation. So, Kipp reckons that a change in reality may prove to be more beneficial to the national mentality than a change in salary trends.

Nevertheless, the level of optimism among the city’s employees has been experiencing an upward trend as of late and the future forecasts of the year to come are mostly hopeful. Even though a large percentage of residents believe that current business and job conditions are seemingly bleak, there remains a substantial number that truly believes in the next year’s ability to turn the tables around.



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