Dublin and Belfast move up ranking of most expensive cities
Dublin has risen ten places to 51st in the latest rankings of the world's most expensive cities in which to live and work.
Major cities across western Europe have all risen up the rankings of the most expensive locations for expatriates, mainly due to the strengthening of local currencies including the euro against the US dollar.
That's according to a survey by human resources specialists Mercer.
The ranking is designed to help multinational companies and other employers set pay levels for staff working overseas, based on the purchasing power of the US dollar.
Belfast's rank of 120 globally masks the fact that it has risen thirty-eight places from 2013.
"European currencies for the most part slightly strengthened against the US dollar, which pushed most western European cities up in the ranking," according to Noel O'Connor, senior consultant for Mercer.
"There have also been some increases in accommodation costs due to strong demand for rentals, which has also been behind upward movement in rankings for a number of European cities," he added.
"Dublin's move up ten places in the 2014 cost of living survey primarily reflects both of these factors."
Elsewhere in Europe the strength of the Swiss franc means Zurich is the most costly European city on the list, followed by Geneva and Bern.
Outside Switzerland, London, with soaring housing costs and an increasingly strong currency, is the only other western European city among the ten most expensive worldwide.
The high cost of maintaining a safe, western lifestyle in some African centres pushed Luanda in Angola and N'Djamena in Chad to the top two positions in the global ranking. In contrast Karachi, Pakistan, is the world's least expensive city for expatriates.
East Asian cities continue to dominate the rankings with Hong Kong in third place, followed by Singapore.
Closer to home, cities in the United Kingdom and Germany experienced some of this year's biggest surges. Glasgow and Birmingham each jumped 49 and 45 spots up the table respectively; Munich (55) rose 26 places, Frankfurt (59) 24 spots, and Berlin (68) was up 31 places.
Tel Aviv in Israel is the most expensive city in the Middle East for expatriates, far ahead of Beirut (63), Dubai (67), and Abu Dhabi (68).
In Asia, China became relatively more expensive and Japanese cities relatively less so last year.
Australian cities witnessed some of the most dramatic falls in the ranking as the Australian dollar fell against the US dollar - meaning Sydney drops out of the 10 most expensive cities to 26th overall.
The strong US dollar also pushed up costs for those living in the country. New York moved up 8 places to rank at number 16.