LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s economy stumbled out of its coronavirus-induced slump in May, dashing hopes of a swift rebound as government budget forecasters said it was on course for its worst year since pre-industrial times.
Gross domestic product grew less than any economist polled by Reuters had forecast, up 1.8% after a record 20.3% slump in April when lockdown curbs were tightest, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed.
With activity in the dominant service sector not recovering as expected in May, Tuesday’s data fuelled doubts about how much of a bounce-back Britain will see after more businesses were allowed to reopen in June and July as Europe’s worst coronavirus outbreak eased.
“For anyone thinking the data were beginning to point to a sharp V-shape (recovery), today is something of a setback,” HSBC economist Simon Wells said.
The pound slipped to a two-week low against the euro EURGBP= and two-year British government bond yields GB2YT=RR fell to their lowest level on record after the data.
Fallout from COVID-19 slashed economic output by more than a quarter over March and April, and around 9 million Britons currently have their salary paid through a government programme supporting employers hit by the pandemic, which ends in October.
Finance minister Rishi Sunak announced a further 30 billion pounds of funding to support the economy last week, but has accepted that joblessness will rise.
The government’s Office for Budget Responsibility said on Tuesday that unemployment was likely to surge to 11.9% this year under its central scenario, and exceed 13% under a downside prediction that assumed COVID-19 damage would be harder to recover from.
Economic output in 2020 was likely to be 12.4%-14.3% lower in the two scenarios, the biggest drop in more than three centuries, while government borrowing would surge to between 322 and 391 billion pounds.
While this borrowing was necessary to support the economy, “it seems likely that there will be a need to raise tax revenues and/or reduce spending to put the public finances on a sustainable path,” the OBR said.
More than 44,000 people in Britain have died from COVID-19, the highest death toll in Europe, and a second wave of infections could bring a new round of lockdowns, derailing the rebound and damaging long-term confidence.
“Hopes of a ‘V’-shaped recovery are fading fast, and I suspect we’re looking at something resembling far more of a ‘W’ – a series of improvements and relapses, before a proper recovery takes hold,” said Tom Stevenson, an investment director at fund manager Fidelity International.
Britain’s government closed non-essential shops and other businesses to the public on March 23, shortly after ordering the closure of bars, restaurants and cinemas.
May’s limited economic rebound was driven by just 0.9% growth in the services sector, also well below economists’ forecasts.
The wholesale and retail sector made the biggest contribution to growth after being the largest drag in April.
Industrial output and construction also recovered strongly, in line with forecasts.
Economists said they had based their more upbeat forecasts for growth as a whole in May on private-sector surveys and other fast economic indicators that pointed to a more broad-based rebound.
“Firms were more cautious emerging out of lockdown than consumers,” Barclays economists Fabrice Montagne and Abbas Khan wrote, cutting their forecasts for GDP growth in 2020 and 2021.
Reporting and photo: Reuters
Atmosphere Core expands in South Asia with Atmosphere Living ultra-luxury residences
Atmosphere Core, a globally renowned name in hospitality, has announced the launch of Atmosphere Living as part of its continued expansion in South Asia. Headquartered in India, this new company will offer branded ultra-luxury residences with customised end-to-end amenities and indulgences, including coffee lounges, wine cellars, private transport, and bespoke concierge services.
The global branded residences market has experienced a remarkable 150 percent growth over the past decade, and projections indicate a surge in demand. With the real estate veteran Sandeep Ahuja at the helm as Managing Director, Atmosphere Living is strategically positioned to capitaliSe on this demand.
Atmosphere Living will focus on a conscious design philosophy. All properties will be built in harmony with the environment and will incorporate features such as smart recycling, efficient waste and water management, and green energy solutions.
Sharing his insights on the launch, Salil Panigrahi, Managing Director, Atmosphere Core, said, “Atmosphere Living will bring a distinctive offering to India, and is a brand to watch out for. It will combine Ahuja’s decades of experience, knowledge, and industry network in real estate with Atmosphere’s hospitality expertise, introducing unparalleled serviced residences in India.”
Positioned in major metropolitan areas, established second-home destinations, and undiscovered scenic locales nationwide, these projects will also present lucrative investment opportunities. Elite homeowners will have the option to lease their residences back to Atmosphere Living, allowing them to be rented out for income generation.
Sandeep Ahuja, Managing Director, Atmosphere Living, said, “There is currently a gap in the Indian realty landscape for ultra-indulgent serviced homes catering to affluent consumers. We aim to bridge this gap by curating serviced homes that offer indulgences such as entering homes using smart key cards, 24/7 butler services, fine dining, and co-working spaces, among others. Our ultimate desire is to enable our customers to experience a life of true luxury and exclusivity.”
A night of celestial wonders, luxury, and cosmic inspiration at Anantara Kihavah SKY Observatory by British astronaut Tim Peake
Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas celebrated a historic milestone with the exclusive visit of the renowned British astronaut, Tim Peake. On the evening of November 2, Astronaut Peake hosted an exclusive space talk at SKY Observatory, the finest overwater observatory in the Indian Ocean, housing the most powerful telescope in the Maldives.
Perched gracefully over the pristine Maldivian waters, SKY Observatory provided an idyllic setting for this extraordinary event, complemented by a stunning sunset. The exclusive gathering attracted a full house of eager guests to a delightful evening that seamlessly blended science, luxury, and natural beauty.
The evening commenced with a lovely cocktail reception, where guests were serenaded by the soulful tunes of a live saxophone band. Attendees savoured exquisite cocktails and canapés as they eagerly awaited Tim Peake’s presentation.
Tim Peake’s talk unveiled his personal journey, where he shared his path to becoming an astronaut and narrated the rigorous training that astronauts undergo. He provided insights into life in space, the daily challenges faced by astronauts, and the awe-inspiring experiences he encountered during his
historic mission. He also offered a glimpse into his exciting future projects, leaving the audience both inspired and spellbound.
Following Tim’s presentation, an interactive Q&A session allowed guests to engage directly with the British astronaut. The audience posed thoughtful questions, deepening their understanding of astronauts’ unique experiences and the intricacies of space exploration.
The event was further enriched by the presence of the resort’s three SKY gurus, Hammadh Rasheed, Zunnoon Ahmed, and Ali Arushal, who conducted a stargazing session for the guests afterward.
The success of the event was evident in the overwhelmingly positive feedback from attendees, who left with a deeper appreciation for space exploration and a memorable evening to cherish.
The evening marked a significant moment in Anantara Kihavah’s history, showcasing the resort’s commitment to offering unique and memorable experiences for its guests. The presence of Tim Peake, a celebrated astronaut and highly accomplished author, added an extraordinary dimension to the resort’s already spectacular offerings.
Tim Peake is a renowned British astronaut who made history as the first official British astronaut to visit the International Space Station (ISS) and conduct a spacewalk during his six-month mission. He also achieved the remarkable feat of running the London Marathon from space. Beyond his extraordinary space endeavours, Tim is also a bestselling author with his most recent book Space: A thrilling human history published earlier this month.
An astronomer’s paradise, Baa Atoll in the Maldives, is one of the best places on earth to enjoy stargazing due to its proximity to the equator. Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas promises a voyage of discovery on a private Indian Ocean Island, with Sky—an overwater observatory and luxury cocktail bar—providing guests a chance to sip champagne under the stars and explore the Universe.
Visit Maldives website adds atolls segment to showcase diverse regions
Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation’s (MMPRC/ Visit Maldives) has added a new segment to the official Visit Maldives Website specified for atolls showcasing the diversity of the Maldives.
The segment, now live at atolls.visitmaldives.com provides in depth information regarding the different regions of the Maldives, divided by atolls, to refine the traveller’s experience, commencing with an in-depth exploration of Addu Atoll and Fuvahmulah Atoll.
With 26 atolls, the Maldives offers a wide array of unique accommodations and awe-inspiring travel experiences, and this informative section of our website will serve as a gateway to discover the hidden treasures unique to each area. This falls under MMPRC’s initiatives to encourage tourism growth in all regions of the Maldives, broadening exposure to the diverse tourism products available in the Maldives.
The goal is to elevate Visit Maldives’ digital marketing landscape by showcasing the Maldives as more than just a honeymoon destination with various accommodation options. This initiative is driven by a desire to increase awareness about the distinctive offerings within each of the Maldives’ atolls. It aims to positively shape their perception of the Sunny Side of Life brand by curating engaging content that highlights the unique features of the atolls and diverse experiences available in the islands.
Additionally, the initiative will target the affordable luxury market to promote the Maldives as the most appealing option for short holidays and weekend getaways under a unified Maldives brand umbrella.
MMPRC aims to continue exploring other atolls in the Maldives as well, encouraging growth and tourism development in all regions of the Maldives, building on the foundation we have created to promote the destination beyond the traditional paradigms of sun, sand, and sea.
Celebration5 days ago
Embrace Glitz & Glam at SO/ Maldives: The epitome of sophisticated festivities
Celebration1 week ago
Endless Fun in the Winter Sun at Cora Cora Maldives
Offers4 days ago
Dusit Thani Maldives introduces exquisite romantic and family all inclusive packages for an unforgettable escape 2023
Love6 days ago
Vakkaru Maldives crowned Leading Luxury Honeymoon Resort 2023
News1 week ago
Canareef Resort Maldives broadens global reach with new sales representatives in Russia and the UK/Ireland Markets
Celebration1 week ago
Experience the enchantment at Ifuru Island: Let the magic shine this Festive Season!
Food1 week ago
Anantara Kihavah introduces the Maldives’ first ever immersive dining under water at SEA Restaurant
News6 days ago
Amari Raaya Maldives unveils RAAYA: Luxurious private yacht for unforgettable seafaring experiences