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Belfast one of the least expensive places in the world

Belfast has been named the UK’s least expensive city.

At a time when the cost of living seems to keep on rising, the city has emerged as one of the cheapest in the world in a major survey published today.

According to the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey 2010, Belfast beats the likes of Glasgow, Dublin and London for value for money.

The survey covers 214 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transport, food and clothing.

Topping the list as the world’s most expensive city for expatriates is Luanda in Angola, followed by Tokyo, and Ndjamena in Chad, which is third.

Dublin also features among the most costly cities, coming 42nd on the list.

London (17th) is named the UK’s most expensive city, followed by Aberdeen (149th), Glasgow (155th), and Birmingham (158th).

Moscow (fourth), Geneva (fifth) and Zurich (joint eighth) are the most expensive European cities, followed by Copenhagen, which is 10th.

Belfast’s 182nd place is well down the list, placing it amongst cities such as Blantyre in Malawi, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei.

Fiona Ure from the Belfast Visitor and Convention Centre said the survey would help boost the city’s appeal for tourists.

“I think it reflects that Belfast is a city which offers good value for money,” she said.

“It is really positive news and the less barriers there are to market Belfast, the better.

“Price is always an important element when you are trying to promote a destination.

“If Belfast is seen as good value for money then hopefully it will encourage more people to come to the city.”

The Angolan capital of Luanda is named as the most expensive city for expatriates.

Nathalie Constantin-Métral from Mercer, which carried out the survey, said people wrongly assume cities in the developing world are cheap.

“To entice talented staff to these cities, multi-nationals need to provide the same standard of living and benefits that these employees and their families would experience at home,” she said.

“In some African cities, the cost of this can be extraordinarily high — particularly the cost of good, secure accommodation.”

Miss Constantin-Métral said the weakening of the US dollar combined with a decrease in the cost of rental accommodation has pulled US cities down the rankings.

She said the strengthening of the Australian and New Zealand dollars against the US dollar also made Australian and New Zealand cities more costly for expatriates coming from the US.

After Moscow, Geneva, Zurich and Copenhagen, the most expensive European cities are Norway’s capital Oslo, Milan, London and Paris. Others include Bern, Rome, Vienna, St Petersburg and Amsterdam.

Tel Aviv is the most expensive city in the Middle East, followed by Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Cities in Brazil are amongst the most expensive locations in the Americas, with Sao Paulo ranked as the costliest in North and South America.

In the United States, New York is the most expensive city followed by Los Angeles.

Two Japanese cities, Tokyo and Osaka, top the list in Asia, followed by Hong Kong, Singapore and Seoul, while Sydney is Australia’s most expensive city.

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