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Currency and Cost of Living

Bahrain - Currency and Cost of Living


The local currency in Bahrain is the Dinar and the cost of living is comparable to that of most western countries, but there is a lack of taxation which has an impact both on the expat’s bank balance and the cost of a number of items. Bahrain also has a slightly higher cost of living than other gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia.

Some imported items such as branded foods may have a higher cost than in other places, but expats should consider trying the local unbranded alternatives which are usually of reasonable quality. Household appliances are usually cheaper than in the west. The standard of consumer goods is excellent as most are imported from other countries and most items are widely available. It is not usually necessary for expats to import any goods themselves.

The cost of utilities are subsidised because the government owns the utility companies. Rental costs for accommodation can be quite high but this will depend upon the area in which you are living. Some companies who hire foreign workers may include accommodation costs as part of the contract. An expense that foreign workers may have to take into consideration is the cost of education for children, as most will be privately educated.

One of the cheapest things about living in Bahrain is the cost of petrol and transportation. It is considerable cheaper to run a car for a month in Bahrain than in Western Europe and public transport costs are also reasonable.

The busy malls in the more developed areas will have long opening hours all week, though expats may find that smaller stores shut earlier, but people will generally be able to shop seven days a week for most items. The number of malls is increasing as development across the country increases.

There are very few legal consumer rights in Bahrain, although most shops will work to resolve any problems you may have. Most shop owners and workers are very friendly and are happy to offer replacements or refunds for certain items if appropriate. If you do have an unsolved problem you can contact the Ministry of Commerce and they will try to help reach a satisfactory conclusion. There are plans in place to formalise consumer rights.

In recent years the cost of living has risen considerably in Bahrain, mainly due to the influx of western companies and workers, though the current economic climate has also had an effect.


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