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Euro zone economic outlook steady but job recovery at high risk: Reuters Poll



BENGALURU (Reuters) – A full bounceback from the euro zone’s deepest recession on record will take two years or more, according to a Reuters poll of economists who also said there is a high risk the job recovery underway reverses by the end of 2020.

Europe was badly hit earlier this year by the coronavirus pandemic, which has now infected more than 22 million people globally. But stringent lockdowns and contact tracing helped get the numbers down and allowed swift re-openings.

Along with trillions of euros’ worth of European Central Bank stimulus and a 750 billion euro European Union recovery fund that kicks in next year, sentiment has improved, and the economy is bouncing back along with the euro.

The consensus from the Aug 14-19 Reuters poll points to 8.1% growth this quarter compared with the previous one, easily the fastest on record, following a historic 12.1% contraction in Q2. That is unchanged from the July poll median.

In May, around the time lockdowns were lifted in most euro zone countries, the Q3 forecast was for 7.2% growth.

Quarterly growth will then slow sharply to 3.0% in Q4, slightly better than the 2.8% predicted last month and still a historically robust rate.

However, more than 70% of economists, or 25 of 35 who replied to an additional question, said it would take two or more years for euro zone GDP to reach pre-COVID-19 levels. Ten respondents said within two years and none said within a year.

“Despite the recent recovery in economic indicators, the better-than-feared performance of labour markets and the recent agreement on the Recovery Fund, we still see various downside risks to the economic recovery,” said Elwin de Groot, head of macro strategy at Rabobank.

“Although there have been encouraging reports with regard to a potential (COVID-19) vaccine by early 2021, as long there isn’t any effective one, containment measures will have to be kept in place regardless. A second series of partial lockdowns could have some serious economic effects.”

Around three-quarters of common contributors to this month’s and last month’s poll either lowered their GDP forecasts for the remainder of the year or kept them unchanged.

Asked to predict their worst-case scenario, the median response was 4.0% this quarter, much better than the 2.0% forecast in last month’s poll. But the worst-case view points to a 2.0% contraction in Q4, the most pessimistic yet for that period.

On an annual basis, the economy was expected to shrink 8.2% this year and then grow 5.5% next, or -10.3% this year and no growth in 2021 on a worst-case basis.

Much will depend on how the job market performs from now on.

Thanks to wide-reaching government furlough programmes that have helped businesses retain workers, euro zone unemployment has risen only slightly to 7.8% in July from 7.2% in February.

But about 85% of economists in the poll, 28 of 33 who responded to an additional question, said the risk the job recovery reverses by year-end was high, including four who said very high.

“Euro zone unemployment almost looks like a Cinderella story. With barely any increase in unemployment, it is currently the belle of the global labour market ball, at least compared to many other developed economies,” said Carsten Brzeski, chief economist, eurozone and global head of macro at ING.

“When the clock strikes midnight, however, and short-term work schemes come to an end, the fairy tale is unlikely to continue. We expect a second wave of job losses towards the end of the year and going into 2021.”

The jobless rate is expected to rise to 8.9% in 2020 and 9.3% in 2021, according to a July Reuters poll.

Inflation was not expected to touch the ECB’s target of below, but close to 2% through to 2022, according to the latest August survey. The ECB’s key interest rates are expected to stay on hold through the forecast horizon.

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.”

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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.

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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 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.

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