FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Europe appears to have weathered a pandemic-induced recession better than many feared, a slew of indicators suggested on Tuesday, but prospects for a second wave of infections and a hard Brexit are once again raising talk of more stimulus.
Having shrunk by over a tenth last quarter, the euro zone economy is quickly regaining strength on the back of relatively resilient consumption, supported by job subsidy schemes, tax cuts and lavish stimulus from the European Central Bank.
Indeed, consumer confidence in the 19 countries sharing the euro rose to -13.9 this month from -14.7 in August, the European Commission said, a reading below its long-term trend but easily beating market expectations.
Adding to the positive news, the Ifo Institute upgraded its forecast for Germany, expecting GDP in the euro zone’s biggest economy to shrink 5.2% this year, a big improvement on its last projection for a 6.7% drop or the Bundesbank’s 7.1% forecast.
The figures suggest that unprecedented fiscal and monetary support have insulated the bloc from an unprecedented recession and households began to spend once again as most restrictions were lifted during the summer months.
Unemployment in the region has barely risen compared to some other major economies and, at 7.9%, has still not moved far from the more than 10-year low of 7.2% hit earlier this year.
Germany’s HDE retail association now expects nominal sales to grow by 1.5% this year, a sharp upward revision from its previous estimate for a 4% drop, helped by a surge in online sales and stimulus measures that have included a temporary VAT cut and cash handouts for parents.
But the good news may be unsustainable.
Investors are growing increasingly worried about surging coronavirus infections in countries like France and Spain, increasing the risk of lockdowns, a factor not captured by Tuesday’s indicators.
“We doubt this (confidence rise) will be sustained,” Melanie Debono at Capital Economic said in a note. “Further restrictions are being imposed and look set to cause consumer confidence, and perhaps household spending, to drop back in the fourth quarter.”
Worries over a hard Brexit merely compound the troubles and European stocks tumbled this week as markets are now pricing a more protracted recovery with more frequent interruptions.
Indeed, many euro zone countries have reintroduced travel restrictions, forcing airlines to scale back passenger services after a relatively quick run up over the summer.
But most governments appear keen to avoid the type of hard lockdowns seen in early spring and instead opt for localised, targeted measures that allow people to maintain ordinary activities as much as possible.
Mortality is also not following the surge in infections, supporting government efforts to limit disruptions.
Still, the outlook is sufficiently murky for the ECB to make the clearest case yet for even more stimulus, perhaps as soon as the fourth quarter.
“Faced with such a sizeable downward skew (in risks), there is a strong case for our reaction function to be asymmetric, as the risks of a policy overreaction are much smaller than the risks of policy being too slow or too shy to react and the worst-case scenarios materialising,” ECB board member Fabio Panetta said.
He added that while the ECB has done a lot, the inflation outlook is not yet satisfactory as price growth is “uncomfortably” below the ECB’s aim of close to 2%.
“If we encounter shocks that compress demand and pose additional threats to price stability, our reaction function is clearly spelled out: a policy response is necessary and forthcoming,” he said.
Reporting and photo: Reuters
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):
- Ibrahim Shareef, CEO and Managing Director of Maldives Airports Company Limited
- Renato De Olivera, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands and representative of Marriott International
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.
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
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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