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July 29 events taking place in Malta and Gozo today

FILM

Kinemastik International Short Film Festival

The 18th edition of the short film festival is taking place between today and Sunday, July 31, at the Msida Bastion Cemetery and Historic Garden.

This evening's programme will open with a sunset deejay and cocktail session at 6.30pm. Two short film programmes will be screened between 8.30 and 11pm, to be followed by a live gig by Double Standard and later, a set by the Kinemastik resident deejays.

Tomorrow, there will be a sunset DJ session with Joon at 6.30pm to be followed by another two short film programmes and Les Nuits Comiques, featuring Dean Weangrow, Nigel Baldacchino and Campbell Reid on the decks.

MUSIC

The 80s & 90s Music Festival, featuring Typically Tina

The fifth edition of the 80s & 90s Music Festival in aid of Inspire Malta is featuring a tribute act to Tina Turner, Typically Tina.

The event, taking place today in St Benedict Street, Kirkop, will also feature local band Lighthouse and deejays Alex ‘Reflex’ Grech, Sue Mifsud and Renato Vella.

Entrance is free. For more information, look up the event’s Facebook page.

Queen tribute band in San Ġwann

The Best Ever Queen Tribute Band will be performing songs from the legendary band's repertoire in Chapel Street, San Ġwann, this evening from 8.30pm onwards.

Hayley Azzopardi, finalist of Mużika Mużika, and musician Kristy Spiteri, finalist of the popular show Brillanti, will be supporting the band.

Entrance is free.

Muses at Eventide

Two Gozitan artists are today joining forces for an hour-long evening of music and poetry at Savina church, Victoria.

Volinist Pierre Louis Attard will perform works by Telemann, Vella, Piazzolla, King, Orff and Bacewicz, which will alternate with poetic interludes by poet Matthew Sultana. The latter invite the audience to think critically, reflect and opine on a number of current social phenomena such as education, the environment, xenophobia and the ego.

The event starts at 8pm and entrance is free of charge. The poetry will be delivered in Maltese but the presentation and running commentary will be bilingual.

Night Across the Meadows

The first edition of the summer music festival is being held this evening near the picturesque Għadira ta’ San Raflu, limits of Kerċem. 

Alternative rock band ManaTapu are the headlining act. Gozitan band Stranded will warm up the crowd, while DJ Carlo Gerada will play a closing set.

Ron

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Tourist arrivals in Malta in 2021 increased by 47%, reaching 968,136 tourists, according to the National Statistics Office.
Despite the increase, the number of tourist arrivals remained well below pre-pandemic levels: in 2019, Malta had welcomed just over 2.7 million tourists.

The NSO said single centre destination inbound tourism accounted for the majority of trips (95.8%) with the rest being twin-centre destination trips.

Total nights spent by arrivals to Malta surpassed 8.3 million, an increase of 60.5% over 2020, when the country was out of bounds due to the COVID-19 pandemic for most of the year. Nights spent by single centre arrivals accounted for 95.7% of total nights spent here. The remaining were nights spent on twin-centre destination trips. Arrivals to Malta accounted for 94% of the total, while the Gozo and Comino region accommodated 6% of the total nights.

Nights spent by single centre arrivals accounted for 95.7% of total nights spent here. The remaining were nights spent on twin-centre destination trips. Arrivals to Malta accounted for 94% of the total, while the Gozo and Comino region accommodated 6% of the total nights.

In 2021, arrivals who visited both Malta and Gozo and Comino totalled 40,766, an increase of 113.8% when compared to 2020. The largest share of twin-centre arrivals were in the 25-44 age bracket (50.4%).

The majority of these were first-time tourists (76.7% per cent) and came from EU states (72.5%). The strongest markets were France (22.9%) and the United Kingdom (19.9%). More than half of the twin centre inbound tourists travelled by low-cost airlines (51.7%).

Total expenditure spent by twin centre tourists was estimated at €44.7 million in 2021, an increase of 162.6% over 2020.


 

 
 
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ARTICLE WRITTEN BY TIMES MALTA

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New Alliance will Deliver Blockchain-Based Financial Messaging and Instant
Transaction Settlement for Traditional Banks
 
Dallas, Texas Impel and Globiance are pleased to announce today a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Oliver Marco La Rosa, Founder and CEO of Globiance, and Troy S. Wood, CEO and Founder of Impel. The MOU establishes a mutual partnership to bring blockchain technology to Globiance's traditional banking services that will improve customer experience, security and provide significant operating cost savings.
 
Globiance is one of the first leaders in the industry to pilot Impel's ISO 20022 financial messaging  standard that is already widely adopted in more than 70 countries and one the United States aims to implement by 2025. Globiance will implement Impel's API with optional instant settlement ability using $XDC, the native coin on the XDC Network, XRC- 20 tokens, such as Globiance's native token $GBEX, or stablecoins.
 
Both Globiance and Impel's projects are built and operate on the XDC Network, a Layer 1 blockchain protocol that is a highly optimized, bespoke fork of Ethereum. The network offers significant benefits, such as near-zero gas fees, and it reaches consensus through its delegated proof-of-stake (XDPoS) mechanism, thus using virtually no energy and allowing for fast processing at two second transaction times and over 2,000 transactions per second.
 
The hybrid XDC Network is equipped with public and private states and provides cross-chain interoperability with its smart contracts. As an Ethereum Virtual
Machine (EVM) compatible blockchain, project migrations to the network are seamless.

Impel offers a self-paced ISO 20022 financial message demo that allows anyone to create and send transaction requests over the XDC Network's mainnet. The
demo is available on their website: https://impel.global.
 

About Globiance

Globiance is a banking and exchange platform complete with payment gateways, banking services, a stablecoin, and centralized and decentralized marketplaces. Globiance offers services for both corporate and retail customers from branches in 13 countries, servicing five continents with more in development.

Users have access to crypto and fiat wallets in many currencies. The personal bank/debit card is a convenient way to access crypto, shop, transact, earn rewards and more. The Platform's deflationary token, GBEX, is the house-token of Globiance. Globiance is built

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The domestic financial sector showed strong resilience in 2021 despite challenges for certain sectors, according to a central bank report published on Monday.

In its fourteenth edition of the financial stability report, the CBM assesses developments in 2021 that are relevant for domestic financial stability.

The bank remarks, in its report, that the macroeconomic environment in the EU improved over a year ago as vaccination programmes aided the reopening of economic activity.

Geopolitical risk rose further exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine war and its compounding effect on the already-rising inflationary pressures particularly for energy and commodity prices with potential ramifications on growth prospects, going forward.

As pandemic-related government support measures were maintained in 2021, government debt levels continued to increase with potential debt sustainability concerns for some jurisdictions.

On the domestic front, despite the high uncertainty surrounding the global economic climate, banks reported improved asset quality owing to both reduced Non-performing Loans (NPLs) and higher loan volumes.

The latter was largely driven by increased mortgages as lending to corporates was solely driven by the Malta Development Bank’s COVID-19 Guarantee Scheme, the bank notes.

Such developments, according to the CBM, reaffirm the need for continuous monitoring of increasing concentration risk in the banks’ loan portfolios for the timely adoption of targeted policy measures if the need arises.

Overall, the report finds that the domestic financial sector showed strong resilience in 2021 despite challenges for certain sectors.

"Furthermore, inflationary pressures and downside risks to economic growth could possibly impact debt servicing capabilities, which in turn, could test the resilience of the domestic financial sector. This highlights the importance for credit institutions not to engage in excessive risk-taking and set aside adequate provisions whilst maintaining healthy liquidity and capital buffers," it warns.

And with the cybersecurity landscape continuously shifting with more sophisticated threats emerging, financial institutions should remain at the forefront for the adoption of the latest technological advancements to safeguard themselves against cybersecurity risks, it adds.

The report also features, for the first time, a climate risk-related adverse scenario for the macro stress testing framework. The scenario seeks to assess the

b03475a6-eda5-4a70-8b01-cc2e710c6502.jpgThe Central Bank’s Business Conditions Index for June indicates that annual growth in business activity has returned to its long-term average estimated since January 2000.

The European Commission’s Confidence Survey shows that economic sentiment in Malta edged down in June when compared with a month earlier, but still remained above its long-term average, which is estimated since November 2002.

When compared with May, sentiment deteriorated strongly in the retail sector, and to a smaller extent among consumers and in the construction sector.

These developments were partly offset by improved sentiment in industry and the services sector.

Additional survey information shows that compared to May, price expectations eased across all sectors, with the largest decline recorded in industry. However, they remained elevated from a historical perspective.

The European Commission’s Uncertainty Indicator for Malta decreased when compared with May, signalling lower uncertainty.

This was driven by developments in services and industry, as in other sectors uncertainty increased.

In May, industrial production contracted in annual terms, though at a smaller rate compared with April.

Meanwhile, the volume of retail trade rose at a slower pace than in the previous month. The unemployment rate was unchanged from a month earlier and below last year’s rate.

The annual inflation rate based on the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices stood at 6.1% in June, up from 5.8% in the previous month. Inflation based on the Retail Price Index also rose, reaching 6.2% in June from 6% a month earlier.

 

 

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ARTICLE WRITTEN BY TIMES MALTA

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Housing market outcomes are the result of the interaction between user demand and supply of housing. For several years, additional housing demand exceeded additional housing supply leading to exceptional growth in selling prices. However, over the past two years, house prices grew at a slower pace. Thus, understanding the historical and expected developments in the demand and supply of housing is key for anticipating likely developments in the selling price of housing units.

The main drivers of ‘user demand’ for housing stems from first-time buyers, long-term lessees and short-stay visitors. This should not be confused with ‘buyer demand’ which represents those that purchase a housing unit either for personal use or to rent it out.

The additional demand for housing units by first-time buyers remained relatively stable over several years and is estimated to average around 2,500 units per annum.

The demand driven by long-term lessees mainly stems from foreign residents working or retiring in Malta. These increased significantly since 2017 and, by 2019, 100,000 out of a 500,000 population were foreign-born living in Malta. Such was their increase, that additional demand for housing units by long-term lessees is estimated to have amounted to almost three times that of first-time buyers in 2019

A similar trend is observed for short-stay visitors. These are tourists staying in temporary accommodation that would otherwise serve as housing. Tourism numbers followed the same trend as foreign residents, whereby a total of 714,157 tourists stayed in ‘other rented accommodation’ in 2019. This meant that demand driven by this subcategory had been increasing year-on-year until the tourism sector was hit hard by COVID-19 in 2020.

Turning to housing supply, it is defined as the quantity of housing in existence. These come onto the market following a process initiated through the application for a building permit with the Planning Authority (PA), followed by its approval. Approved permits translate into additional housing stock on the market with a certain lag as it takes time to construct new housing units. In 2018 and 2019, around 20,000 permits were approved, meaning that such housing units would then come onto the market in one/two years’ time.

These developments are expected to ease, but not eliminate the downward pressure on prices as additional demand will likely not suffice to fully meet the supply of housing that would have been accumulated by

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