It’s always an interesting exercise, comparing one country against another – the cost of a litre of milk; personal banking and credit card offers; electricity, gas and water charges; the cost of a pair of jeans or a pair of shoes. It paints the sort of picture in our heads we can all understand and easily appreciate. That’s because we all know what a pint of milk is.
And we know what a bank is, too. The majority of us know them from the inside out, usually after opening a current account or enquiring at the counter about a Visa credit card or something similar. How different in a region like the Middle East where modern banking has still a long way to go in terms of penetration. Egypt is a perfect example of that. Much of the population have little or no access to banking because they simply don’t earn enough. A similar situation exists in Jordan where retail banking penetration is also low. Yet personal loans, credit cards and other financial products are readily available.
However, visitors to the region are unlikely to care about the low interest rates offered by this or that bank or about bank usage rates. But they will care about the locations of ATMs and credit card machines, especially when the spending money starts running out! They might even notice the difference in the cost of living, too, as they search out the ‘must see’ sights and haggle over authentic souvenirs and gifts to take back home. If you are in the UAE you might want to compare available credit cards from HSBC or from a number of other international banks that operate in the region.
But let’s look at the cost of a litre of milk and other everyday items in New York compared to the cost in the Middle Eastern cities of Amman, the capital of Jordan; Doha, the capital of Qatar; Cairo, the capital of Egypt; and Dubai, a major metropolis in the United Arab Emirates. A simple price comparison may not tell us the whole story but, nevertheless, it’s a fascinating exercise. By the way, all the data comes courtesy of the amazing website Numbeo.
You know what? Milk is cheaper in New York compared to all four cities in the Middle East. Its three cents of a difference in Cairo; 38 cents dearer in Amman; 53 cents dearer in Doha; and 21 cents of a difference in Dubai.
All four countries win out when it comes to the cost of a loaf of fresh white bread. The New York price is $3.00. You can pick up a loaf for $1.00 in Amman, Cairo and Dubai. In Doha, the dough is a bit more pricier at $1.37.
A dozen eggs will set you back about $3.00 in New York. In Cairo, the price is $1.60. The eggs are dearer in Amman, costing around $2.52; dearer still in Doha at $2.61; and dearest of all in Dubai at $2.66.
A bottle of mid-range wine costs about $15.00 in New York. It’ll cost you $4.83 more in Amman; $7.65 extra in Doha; and $4.53 more in Dubai.. However, the same bottle of wine is $4.75 cheaper in Cairo than in New York.
A pair of jeans – Levis 501 or similar – costs around $50.00 in New York. The same jeans will set you back $82.25 in Amman; $87.81 in Doha; $95.00 in Cairo; and $95.29 in Dubai.
You could expect to pay around $75.00 for a pair of men’s leather shoes in New York. In Cairo, the shoes are way cheaper, $24.00 cheaper to be exact. Not so in Amman, Doha and Dubai where they cost $81.55, $103.77 and $108.90 respectively.
An interesting exercise! Check out more price comparisons here.
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- Amman (en.wikipedia.org)
- The best credit cards for motorists – Confused.com (confused.com)