Istanbul, June 18 () - Istanbul was the 99th most expensive city for expatriates in 2015 out of 207 cities on five continents, according to an annual survey by consultancy firm Mercer.
The city climbed 36 places from last year due to a rise in inflation rates across the country and the loss of the Turkish Lira against the U.S. dollar, according to the Mercer survey.
The Angolan capital, Luanda, has been the world’s most expensive city for expats for the past three years because of the high cost of rent, imported goods and security in the oil-rich nation.
A one-bedroom apartment in the city center costs around 7,500 pounds a month to rent. A pizza is around 20 pounds and gym membership is around 5,000 pounds a year. Only guns are cheap in the city, according to local reports.
The Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek is named the least expensive city on the list.
Almost half of the top five most expensive cities are in Asia, according to the survey. Luanda is followed by Hong Kong, Zurich, Singapore, Geneva, Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul, Bern and N’Djamena, the capital of Chad.
The most expensive European cities are in Switzerland, due to the speedy rise in the Swiss franc’s value, according to the survey.
London remained in 12th spot in the rankings, while Copenhagen slipped nine places to number 24.
The biggest fall from the top 10 was Moscow, which dropped 41 places to 50th because of the depreciation of the ruble following Western sanctions and the oil slump. St. Petersburg decreased by 117 places to 152 in 2015 from last year.
European currencies have weakened against the U.S. dollar, which pushed most Western European cities down in the ranking, while other factors like the eurozone’s weaker economy, falling interest rates and increasing unemployment have impacted these cities, according to the survey.
In the Middle East, the most expensive city was Dubai, which ranks 23 in the global list, followed by Abu Dhabi, which ranks 33.
Across the Atlantic, New York remains the most expensive city in America, followed by Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington.
The survey by the Mercer consulting group compares the cost of over 200 items in 207 cities, including housing, food, transport and entertainment.
It takes New York as its base city for comparison, and measures currency movements against the dollar, which has appreciated significantly from a year ago as the health of the U.S. economy has improved.