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ECB expected to pump up eurozone support as pandemic persists



The European Central Bank could announce Thursday hundreds of billions of euros in new bond-buying to keep fighting the pandemic crisis, analysts predict, as EU governments prepare to wrangle for months over a joint response.

While some policymakers have urged abandoning the ECB’s self-imposed limits on buying government debt to stoke growth and inflation, the meeting is also the first since a ruling by Germany’s Constitutional Court urging restraint of the central bank’s powers.

“At a minimum, we think (governors) will add a further 500 billion euros” ($557 billion) to the 750-billion-euro Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) decided in March, Capital Economics analyst Andrew Kenningham said.

If the ECB keeps up its present pace of buying government and corporate debt, “the total envelope will be exhausted by early October”, he added.

“The only questions are exactly what changes are announced and when.”

ECB board member Isabel Schnabel reiterated last week that the “size but also the composition and duration” of PEPP could all be increased, with some analysts forecasting an extension from the end of this year to September 2021.

As well as Thursday’s policy moves, eyes will be on June’s quarterly growth and inflation forecasts from ECB staff, as January-March figures were compiled before the virus struck.

Bank president Christine Lagarde last week predicted that the eurozone economy would contract by between eight and 12 percent in 2020, before a hoped-for strong rebound next year.

Inflation collapse

Meanwhile inflation in the 19-nation eurozone collapsed to 0.1 percent year-on-year in May — down from 1.2 percent in February before the pandemic and worlds away from the ECB’s just-below-two-percent target.

The inflation outlook could fall as low as zero across the year, Capital Economics predicted, potentially offering a powerful justification for further measures to support activity and lift price growth towards the bank’s goal.

Governors will meet less than a month after a German Constitutional Court (GCC) ruling that a 2.6-trillion-euro bond-buying scheme launched in 2015 may not have been “proportionate” to its price stability goal and demanding clarification.

If the ECB cannot satisfy the judges, the German Bundesbank, the central bank, may not be able to participate in bond-buying.

While finding a face-saving solution to the immediate legal headache, policymakers must also consider how court challenges might limit their future options.

Bank of France governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau last week said the so-called “capital key” — under which the ECB buys countries’ bonds in line with their stakes in its capital — is an “uncalled-for constraint”.

Free of limits, the central bank might choose to buy more Italian, French or Spanish debt to keep financial conditions on an even keel across the eurozone.

Stimulus debate

But the self-imposed capital key rule was also shaped to dodge just the kind of legal tripwire that has sprung up in Germany.

“While I do not think the ECB will be deterred by the GCC, I also think they do not necessarily want to raise the stakes by blatantly going against its worries,” Oliver Rakau of Capital Economics told AFP.

“An official dropping of the capital key is likely fairly controversial at this stage.”

ECB chiefs will also be aware that long-awaited help on the fiscal front remains far off, as leaders are just getting started debating a 750-billion-euro pandemic recovery fund proposal from the European Commission.

While Germany this month gave up some of its red lines in a deal with France, including on the emotive question of joint debt issued from Brussels, a so-called “frugal four” group including Austria and the Netherlands are fighting a rearguard action.

Short of joint measures, markets’ fears of an eventual breakup of the eurozone could resurface, the ECB warned last week.

But tied into the EU’s always hotly contested budget negotiations and calls for bloc-wide taxes on plastics and big tech to fund borrowing, it will be a challenge for governments to seal the deal even by a January deadline.

Reporting and photos: AFP


Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) holds its 34th Annual General Meeting



The Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) held its 34th Annual General Meeting at Kurumba Maldives today, with a total of 100 members in attendance. 

The day’s events began with a welcome address from the Chairman of MATI, Mr. Mohamed Umar, who also presided over the session. The agenda included an address from the Secretary General, Mr. Ahmed Nazeer, the review and approval of the minutes of the 33rd AGM, the review and adoption of the Annual Report and Financial Reports for 2023, the approval of the 2024 budget, the appointment of auditors for 2024, the welcoming of new members and election of executive board members to the two vacant positions (by-election).

In the member discussion session, the following topics were covered: the Government’s aim to reach net-zero emissions by 2023 and renewable energy generation in the Tourism Industry, new terminal of Velana International Airport and developments, employment challenges, the Industrial Relations Act and trade unions, environmental conservation and the significance of creating and executing efficient management plans for protected areas like the South Ari Marine Protected Area (SAMPA).

Following the official proceedings, the Minister of Tourism Hon. Ibrahim Faisal and the Minister of Economic Development and Trade Hon. Mohamed Saeed joined the forum. The Ministers provided remarks and engaged in a Member Q&A session. This session provided members with the chance to directly engage with the Ministers and delve into crucial industry topics. The queries focused on the Economic Outlook, forthcoming development plans and  immediate challenges and issues affecting the Tourism Industry.

A video presentation was also showcased that delved into the extensive work undertaken by MATI in 2023. The video also touched upon the Tourism Industry’s performance over the past 5 years, as well as the current and projected human resource capacity of the sector.

In his closing remarks, the Secretary General highlighted the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing industry challenges and called for greater unison amongst industry stakeholders, ending with an acknowledgement of the promising start to the year in terms of arrivals.

Executive Board Members elected to the 2 vacant positions (by-election):

  1. Ibrahim Shareef, CEO and Managing Director of Maldives Airports Company Limited
  2. Renato De Olivera, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands and representative of Marriott International
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Unlocking power of travel storytelling at Travel Creators Exchange 2024



Join us for the Travel Creators Exchange 2024, taking place on February 1, 2024, at the Hotel Jen in Male’, Maldives.

This dynamic event provides a platform for networking and collaboration among Maldives-based travel creators, fostering connections, idea-sharing, and the establishment of lasting partnerships to expand opportunities and monetise content.

Our lineup of distinguished speakers includes:

  • Zihuny Rasheed, Deputy Managing Director of MMPRC, will present on “Power of Digital Storytelling: Collaborative Strategies for Destination Promotion.” MMPRC actively markets the Maldives globally, utilising a comprehensive approach that includes travel trade shows, roadshows, digital marketing, and more.
  • Amjad Thaufeeg, Commercial Director of Kuda Villingili Maldives Resort, brings over 23 years of hospitality industry experience. He will discuss “The Role of Content in Tourism Marketing,” drawing on expertise in revenue, customer service, sales & marketing, and human capital development.
  • Suresh Dissanayake, Assistant Vice President of Sales & Marketing of Heritance Aarah & Adaaran Resorts, with nearly two decades of experience, will shed light on “What does a Sales and Marketing Director Do?” He brings extensive luxury hospitality experience and a proven track record in sales, distribution, and marketing.
  • Vishal Amir Ahmed, a versatile cinematographer and content creator, will explore “Who is a Content Creator.” Currently associated with Various Arts Studio, he specialises in providing multimedia solutions to various clients.

Organised by Maldives Insider, Maldives Virtual Tour, Travel Trade Maldives, and Hotelier Maldives, this collaborative effort aims to empower Maldives-based travel content creators and elevate the Maldives as a premier destination for captivating travel storytelling.

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Acclaimed contemporary artist Ana Pušica explores perpetuality and community at Patina Maldives



Ana Pušica Kramer, an internationally  acclaimed contemporary artist, joins Patina Maldives for an exclusive  art residency in the now infamous Fari Art Atelier. From January 22 to  February 22, 2024, Ana Pušica will grace the shores of the Fari Islands,  weaving a vibrant narrative of colour and emotion across her larger  than-life canvases. 

Her artistry transcends boundaries, melding abstraction and figuration into awe-inspiring masterpieces. Having exhibited globally, from New York to Beijing, Ana’s paintings are a physical, intuitive act rooted in movement.  Described as a “beautiful fluorescent thunderstorm,” Ana’s art explores light and colour, capturing the energy of life itself. 

The Fari Art Atelier which has previously hosted the likes of Daniel Arsham, Chris Stamp and David Nott, will be transformed into Ana’s studio and gallery showcasing her enthralling artworks—a mesmerising journey through poetry, memory, and the vibrant interplay of colour. Guests at Patina are invited to delve into Ana’s world, where each stroke reveals layers of meaning, evoking sensations of intense lightness and boundless interpretation. 

At Patina Maldives, Ana will immerse herself in a month-long residency, inviting the Patina Malidves community or guests and team to witness her artistic fervour firsthand. Guests will have the rare opportunity not only to observe her creative process but also to engage with and create art alongside this luminary.

Experience artistry at its most exclusive

Art Exhibition
Experience Ana’s captivating exploration of colour and emotion in her spellbinding artworks displayed at the Fari Atelier.

Art Workshops: Message in a Bottle
As part of a collaborative artwork, Ana invites Patina guests to participate in short workshops, actively contributing to the creation of a permanent installation at Patina Maldives.

Open Studio Session
Join Ana for an exclusive open studio session, offering guests a behind the-scenes look at her creative process.

Ana Pušica residency package
Discover a world where creativity knows no bounds as Ana Pušica, the maestro of contemporary art, transforms Patina Maldives into an immersive canvas of inspiration.

Book now to secure your experience.
For more information and reservations, please visit Patina Maldives or contact

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