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Life is most expensive in Vancouver, but Cdian cities drop in worldwide ranking

TORONTO - Vancouver tops the list of most expensive Canadian cities to live in, surpassing Toronto for the second year in a row, according to an annual cost of living survey.

But life is still expensive in Toronto, as well as Montreal and Calgary, which round out the top four costly cities in the country, according to Mercer's 2014 Cost of Living Survey.

Overall, however, Canadian cities have dropped down the list significantly in this year's ranking compared with other places worldwide, because of the weakened Canadian dollar and slower pace of price increases compared with New York, the survey's base city.

Vancouver fell thirty-two places since last year, for a new ranking at 96, while Toronto stood at 101, down thirty-three spots, Montreal fell twenty-eight spots to 123 and Calgary dropped to rank 125.

The annual survey ranks the most expensive cities for expatriates around the world, measuring the comparative cost of over 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

Luanda in Angola is the world's most expensive city for the second year in a row, followed by N'Djamena, Chad.

European and Asian cities also continue to dominate as the costliest cities with Hong Kong in third place, followed by Singapore. Zurich jumped three places to rank fifth, followed by Geneva in sixth. Tokyo dropped four spots to rank seventh.

"Rankings in many regions were affected by recent world events, including economic and political upheavals, which resulted in currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and volatility in accommodation prices," said Ed Hannibal, a partner for Mercer's mobility practice.

"While Luanda and N'Djamena are relatively inexpensive cities, they are quite costly for expatriates since imported goods come at a premium. In addition, finding secure living accommodations that meet the standards of expatriates can be challenging and quite costly as well."

Other cities appearing in the top 10 of Mercer's costliest cities for expatriates are Bern, Moscow, and Shanghai.

Tel Aviv continues to be the most expensive city in the Middle East for expatriates, followed by Beirut, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Karachi is the world's least expensive city for expatriates.

In the United States, cities have climbed in the ranking in part because of the relative stability of the US dollar against other major currencies.

A rise in the rental accommodation market pushed New York up eight places to rank 16, the highest-ranked city in the region.

In South America, Sao Paolo ranked as the costliest city, followed by Rio de Janeiro.

The Canadian Press

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