|Top 5 cities - Europe, Middle East & Africa|
- Luanda, Angola (2nd)
- Moscow, Russia (4th)
- Geneva, Switzerland (5th)
- Zurich, Switzerland (6th)
- N'Djamena, Chad (8th)
Trends in the last several months have shown lower price changes than in mid-2011. The euro, along with other European currencies, has weakened against the US dollar, resulting in a lower ranking for some cities, although many Western European cities remain stable and still present a higher cost of living for expatriates. The Eurozone crisis has no doubt impacted the ranking of cities such as Athens and Madrid. Decreasing housing prices in Athens, along with lower demand, have caused rankings for these two cities to fall lower from that of 2011.
With the exception of Moscow and St. Petersburg, Eastern European cities have retained a lower cost of living than most Western European cities.
In the Middle East, rental markets in many cities, like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, have faced some strong downturn but tended to stabilize toward the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. In a year that had seen a great deal of political and economic turbulence in the Middle East and North Africa, most cities have seen little change in their cost of living ranking. Tunis, Tunisia, was the lowest-ranked city in EMEA, in 209th place.
Luanda has dropped from the top spot in Mercer's ranking but remains the highest-ranked city in all of Europe, Middle East and Africa for expatriates, ranking number 2 in the 2012 list of cities globally. Still scarred by decades of civil war, Luanda sits firmly among the highest-ranked and most expensive cities for expatriates. Angola imports an estimated 80% of its consumable goods, the costs of an expatriate Goods and Services basket are still expensive, and house prices and rental accommodation remains high.
Moscow continually ranks as one of the most expensive cities for expatriates, coming in at number 4 in 2012. High consumer prices over the years and high rental prices keep the cost of living in Moscow very high for expatriates. The Russian ruble has not experienced significant fluctuation against the US dollar in the past 12 months, keeping Moscow stable as one of the expensive cities in the world.
Geneva presents a higher cost of living for expatriates than other Western European cities. Geneva is also ranked highest of the three Swiss cities listed in the top 10. Recent appreciation of the Swiss franc against the US dollar and strong economic stability have made Switzerland relatively more expensive. Limited and high-cost rental accommodation, expensive public transportation and high costs in restaurants, bars and grocery stores are just some of the reasons this city ranked 5th in our Cost of Living survey.