Financial supports allocated by governments have reportedly failed to shield households from the crisis
The average retail gas price across the EU and the UK doubled in October compared to the previous month, when it amounted to €0.18 per kilowatt-hour, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing data from energy consultancy VaasaETT.
Electricity costs for consumers have reportedly soared 67% to €0.36 per kilowatt-hour.
The surge occurred despite EU governments’ latest attempts to protect households against spiraling energy prices by providing billions in subsidies. EU leaders have pledged more than €550 billion over the past year to help businesses and households tackle the energy crisis.
According to Philip Lewis, chief executive officer at VaasaETT, it’s likely household bills would have been even higher if it were not for the financial aid.
On a monthly basis, the average unit rate for electricity reportedly increased 3.4% in October, while that for gas grew by 2.5%. The biggest monthly gains were recorded in Dublin, Ireland, where power rates climbed 44%, while the average gas price in Rome surged 97%.
“If we were essentially to have the crisis more or less lasting for another whole year, or more than a year, that cost, of those measures for these governments, is going to be enormous,” Lewis said, as quoted by media.
“Eventually customers will forget that those prices are not real prices – they will take them as the norm and then it becomes essentially impossible to remove them,” he added.
The EU and Britain are facing a sharp rise in energy prices and record inflation amid anti-Russia sanctions and a policy of abandoning Russian fuel. The situation is expected to lead to energy rationing and shortages across Western Europe.
Source(s): RT News
Sri Lanka seeks investments from Maldives amid economic woes
Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe has requested Maldives to invest in the Sri Lankan economy, mainly in agriculture and tourism sectors.
Wickremesinghe made the request during a meeting with Maldivian Vice President Faisal Naseem, who called on him at the Presidential Secretariat on Friday.
During the meeting, Wickremesinghe highlighted on the long-standing friendship between Maldives and Sri Lanka, and invited Maldives to invest in the country’s agriculture sector, and cruise and high-end tourism sectors.
Wickremesinghe also requested the Maldives to join hands with Sri Lanka in establishing the climate change university.
Discussions during the meeting also focused on the growing threat of drug trafficking affecting the region.
Both Wickremesinghe and Faisal agreed to enhance cooperation in combatting drug trafficking.
According to the Sri Lankan press, Wickremesinghe told Faisal he intends to invite Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on an official visit to Sri Lanka once his residence, which was destroyed during the July protests, is rebuilt.
Sri Lanka, which was once a model for developing countries, is currently facing one of the most severe economic meltdowns to strike any nation in decades. Earlier this year, a widespread fuel and food crisis led to national protests that forced then-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to temporarily flee the country, and later resign. The country has defaulted on its external debt, and has declared bankruptcy.
HDC announces tourism mega project Urban Isle
Housing Development Corporation (HDC) has announced an integrated urban tourism mega project called Urban Isle.
Managing Director of HDC Ahmed Athif made the announcement at the Gold 100 Gala event at CROSSROADS Maldives. He said the project is for large businesses as well as small and medium businesses and that it will significantly develop the tourism industry in the Maldives as well as provide job opportunities.
The project will be developed on the northern side of Hulhumale’ which is designated for tourism development. Once developed, the Urban Isle will have a variety of accommodation facilities for visitors staying for the holidays or those waiting in transit or on business trips. As such, the island will have luxury villas, service apartments, city hotels, midscale and upscale hotels, guesthouses, branded retail, and upper-class restaurants. The project will allocate 10 land plots for serviced apartments, nine land plots for commercial purposes, three land plots for midscale hotels, three land plots for upscale hotels, four land plots for city hotels, 21 land plots for guesthouses, and 11 land plots for luxury villas.
HDC stated that the integrated tourism island presents an expansive range of properties to invest in, as the island will welcome every type of traveler, from international and domestic visitors to budget travelers and those seeking an extravagant stay. The properties are positioned to offer short-term stays for transit purposes, as well as long-term stays for residents and digital nomads.
HDC further stated that the business models proposed by Urban Isle include the lease model, fixed lease model, and JV model. Investor proposals are not restricted to any model, and investors have the opportunity to propose any business model.
Source(s): psm news
Inflation clouds Black Friday sales in US shopping season
US retailers unveiled a trove of fresh promotions on Friday, as they try to coax sales from reticent shoppers whose holiday cheer has been tempered by inflation and worries over a softening economy.
Cautious shoppers have hunted for the best deals at stores and online as retailers offered new Black Friday discounts to entice consumers eager to start buying holiday gifts but weighed down by inflation.
Due to elevated prices for food, rent, gasoline and other essentials, many people were more selective and reluctant to spend unless there was a big sale on Friday.
Some were dipping more into savings, turning to “buy now, pay later” services that allow payment in instalment, or running up their credit cards at a time when the Federal Reserve is hiking rates to cool the US economy.
This year’s trends are a contrast from a year ago when consumers were buying early for fear of not getting what they needed amid supply-network clogs.
Stores didn’t have to discount much because they were struggling to bring in items.
Online discount rates were 31 percent on Thanksgiving, up 7 percent from the previous year, according to Salesforce data.
High customer traffic
Macy’s Herald Square in Manhattan, where discounts included 60 percent off fashion jewelry and 50 percent off select shoes, was bustling with shoppers early on Friday.
The traffic was “significantly larger” on Black Friday compared to the previous two years because shoppers feel more comfortable in crowds, Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette said.
Customer traffic was also higher than last year at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, according to Jill Renslow, executive vice president of business development of the shopping centre.
She said 10,000 people were at the sprawling mall during the first hour after the 7 am opening, though inflation prompted many shoppers to figure out what to buy before showing up.
Major retailers, including Walmart and Target, stuck with their pandemic-era decision to close stores on Thanksgiving Day, moving away from doorbusters and pushing discounts on their websites.
Spike in online sales
Rob Garf, vice president and general manager of retail at Salesforce, said Salesforce data showed online sales spiked in the evening during the holiday this year, suggesting people went from feasting to phone shopping.
Shoppers spent $5.3 billion online on Thanksgiving Day, up 2.9 percent from the holiday last year, according to Adobe Analytics, which monitors spending across websites. Adobe expects that online buying on Black Friday will hit $9 billion, up just 1 percent from a year ago.
Black Friday saw some of the labour unrest that has rippled through the retail industry over the past year.
A coalition of trade unions and advocacy organisations are coordinating strikes and walkouts at Amazon facilities in more than 30 countries under a campaign called “Make Amazon Pay.”
Everyone’s running out for Black Friday sales. 70% off. Basically exactly what everything was last year this time before inflation
— David Spade (@DavidSpade) November 25, 2022
Fears of mass shootings
At Walmart stores, some employees had Wednesday’s deadly shooting at a company store in Virginia in the back of their minds.
Jude Anani, a 35-year-old who works at a Walmart store in Columbia, Maryland, said the company offers training on how to react in such circumstances, but he would like to see more protection.
He was happy to see police officer standing outside the store, as is typical on Black Friday, and wished that was the case “most of the time during the year.”
Analysts consider the five-day Black Friday weekend, which includes Cyber Monday, a key barometer of shoppers’ willingness to spend.
The two-month period between Thanksgiving and Christmas represents about 20 percent of the retail industry’s annual sales.
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