DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) — As this year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting commenced here on Monday, a series of issues that perplex humanity have come under global spotlight, including the energy crisis, high inflation and geopolitical conflicts.
Under the theme of “Cooperation in a Fragmented World,” the annual meeting focuses on solutions and public-private cooperation to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges. Many expect to get more insights from the five-day event on how countries could join hands to strive for a brighter future for globalization and the world economy.
Two-thirds of chief economists from private and public sectors expect a global recession in 2023, according to a survey released on Monday at the annual meeting.
According to a WEF statement on the survey, there was a strong consensus that the prospects for growth in 2023 are bleak, especially in Europe and the United States.
The surveyed economists anticipate further monetary tightening in the United States and Europe this year, and they see geopolitical tensions continuing to shape the global economy.
Some 18 percent of the respondents, more than twice the number in the previous survey in September 2022, considered a world recession “extremely likely.” Only a third of them viewed it as unlikely this year.
“The current high inflation, low growth, high debt and high fragmentation environment reduces incentives for the investments needed to get back to growth and raise living standards for the world’s most vulnerable,” WEF Managing Director Saadia Zahidi said in the statement.
“Leaders must look beyond today’s crises to invest in food and energy innovation, education and skills development, and in job-creating, high-potential markets of tomorrow. There is no time to lose,” she added.
However, there are still positive signs. China’s optimized COVID-19 strategy and further opening will have “a very positive impact” on the world economy, said Leslie Maasdorp, vice president and chief financial officer of the New Development Bank.
“There will be a much faster pace of recovery in the Chinese economy,” Maasdorp said, adding that many institutions predicted that China’s economic growth in 2023 will be much higher than originally projected.
Besides, a number of modestly encouraging data released in the final quarter of 2022 provided some room for optimism about the medium-term inflation outlook in 2023, according to the survey.
According to an IMF forecast in October 2022, global inflation is projected to decline to 6.5 percent in 2023 from 8.8 percent in 2022 due to rapid, synchronized monetary tightening, stabilizing supply conditions and commodity prices, as well as easing demand pressures, said the survey.
CALLS FOR GLOBALIZATION, COOPERATION
The manifold political, economic and social forces are creating increased fragmentation on a global and national level, said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, ahead of the annual meeting.
Schwab stressed the need to reinforce cooperation between the government and business sectors. “At the same time there must be the recognition that economic development needs to be made more resilient, more sustainable and nobody should be left behind.”
Protectionism and geopolitical conflicts are slowing global growth, WEF President Borge Brende told Xinhua prior to the annual meeting’s opening, stressing that “what we hope for our annual meeting in Davos is that nations should again try to find areas to cooperate and not only work against each other.”
China’s optimization of COVID-19 response will contribute to global growth and “will lead to stronger and more prosperous growth, even if this immediate situation is a bit challenging,” said Brende ahead of the WEF.
Brende also expressed his recognition of China’s viewpoint that the only way to deal with global problems is through multilateral cooperation among countries.
“The one positive lesson we can learn from COVID-19 is the interconnection of the world and the need for us to come up with multilateral solutions,” Maasdorp said, adding global challenges cannot be solved by one country alone.
Maasdorp also noted that China has played a critical role in multilateral institutions like the World Bank and the New Development Bank, stressing the country’s commitment to globalization and profound integration into the global supply chains.
Bob Moritz, global chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers, emphasized the importance of globalization, as more trade and business cooperation between China and the rest of the world will be needed.
“Globalization has been thought about sometimes … (as having) no meaning anymore. I would disagree with that,” he said. “The world needs global trade.”
“The world is dealing with problems that are not country specific and bounded by geographic borders … We have to rewire the world thinking about how to solve our problems. We have to get all the players at the table,” he said.
IASL is seeks A contractor to refurbish the Maafaru airport terminal
BY: FATHIMATH LAUZA.
Island Aviation Services Limited (IASL) is looking for a contractor to refurbish the Maafaru International Airport terminal. IASL has asked interested Maldivian enterprises to submit proposals by February 12.
According to General Manager Mumthaz Ali, the goal of the terminal upgrade is to expand the airport’s capacity, add additional Maldives Immigration counters, and develop commercial and VVIP lounges.
He stated that the terminal will be a two-story structure, with the first level housing the VVIP lounge and the second housing the commercial lounge and offices.
Furthermore, the Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC) is planning to rebuild and enlarge the runway at Maafaru International Airport. The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has provided a USD27 million grant to the project (ADFD). The expansion of the runway and terminal is projected to greatly boost the airport’s capacity.
The renovation and extension are part of Maafaru International Airport’s second phase of development. MTCC is in charge of extending the runway by 650 meters, enlarging the strip, recovering land, and constructing coastline protection buildings. Other activities include improving the runway pavement, enlarging the taxiway, and modernizing the AGL and power systems.
State reserve at USD 827.7M by end of last year, a significant improvement
Statistics publicized Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) show that the state reserve stood at USD 827.7 million at the end of last year.
The ‘Economic Update’ publicized by MMA on Thursday showed that the gross international reserve, or in other words, the foreign currency reserve of the central bank, increased to USD 827.7 million by the end of last December.
This marks a three percent increase compared to the previous year. At the end of 2021, the state reserve stood at USD 805.8 million.
The reserve significantly improved in December 2022 compared to November 2022 with an addition of USD 223.5 million – marking a 37 percent increase. At the end of November 2022, the reserve stood at USD 604.2 million.
Tourism sector performed significantly well in the last quarter of last year. Statistics by Tourism Ministry showed that Maldives recorded 184,051 tourist arrivals in December alone, marking a 12 percent increase compared to December 2021.
As per MMA, the number of fisheries exports from the Maldives also significantly increased during December 2022. The central bank said that number of total exports had also significantly increased last year.
Economic experts cite the increased tourist arrivals to the Maldives and increased exports from the Maldives as a positive impact on the Maldivian economy.
While statistics from MMA shows Maldivian economy making steady improvements – Finance Ministry had recently announced measures to cut down state expenditure which is currently in force.
OPEC+ committee recommends staying course on oil output policy
VIENNA, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) — Leading oil officials on Wednesday recommended to maintain the current oil output policy of OPEC+, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, amid an uncertain global economic outlook.
The OPEC+ agreed in October 2022 to cut production by 2 million barrels per day from the following month until the end of 2023. The cut equals to about 2 percent of the annual global oil demand.
Members of the OPEC+ Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) “reaffirmed their commitment” to the current output plan at a virtual meeting on Wednesday and “urged all participating countries to achieve full conformity and adhere to the compensation mechanism,” according to an OPEC statement.
The JMMC comprises oil ministers from the OPEC+ countries. It has no decision-making power but provides policy recommendations for the OPEC+ ministerial meeting, the group’s decision-making body. It has also the authority to request additional OPEC+ ministerial meetings “at any time to address market developments,” according to OPEC.
The JMMC has reviewed the oil production data for November and December last year and “noted the overall conformity” for the OPEC+ countries, OPEC added.
The next JMMC meeting is scheduled for April 3. The next OPEC+ ministerial meeting, where the group will formally decide its output policy, is set for June 4.
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