EU recession likely, but milder than previously feared

Despite a clear downturn in recent Eurozone business activity, the pace eased in November, suggesting that the recession anticipated by economists may be milder than previously feared. 

A Reuters poll published earlier this week noted a 78% chance of recession in the bloc within the next year, in part due to a reduction in spending by consumers feeling the pinch of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. GDP is still expected to fall 0.4% in this coming quarter, and the one following, according to expert analysis from economists.  

November is the fifth month that the S&P Global’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), typically viewed as a good measure of economic health, has been below the 50-point mark, which identifies a contraction instead of growth. However, it is up to 47.8 from October’s 47.3 in an unexpected increase, with previously indicators predicting a fall to 47.0.  

The PMI follows activity in the manufacturing and services industries. In France – the bloc’s second biggest economy – the PMI showed a decline for the first time since February last year. It fell from 51.7 in October to 49.4 this month.  

“Although France’s manufacturing sector has been in a downturn since the start of the second half of 2022, overall economic activity levels throughout this period had been propped up by continued growth in services. This vital support for the economy looks to have ended as service sector output fell for the first time in just over a year-and-a-half in November,” Joe Hayes, a senior economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, told Reuters.  

Meanwhile in Germany, a close neighbour and the biggest Eurozone economy, the PMI increased to 46.4 in November from 45.1 last month.

In the UK, activity experienced the fastest fall in almost two years, adding to immediate concerns of a British recession, a fear voiced by a separate Reuters poll that gave a 90% chance of a recession within the next 12 months.  

Europe-wide, inflation crept to 10.6% in October, more than five times the European Central Bank’s target of 2%. 


Photo source: Ibrahim Boran for Unsplash

Formula 1 season review: Leclerc and the title challenge that never was

Charles Leclerc’s vice-champion title was a just reward for a consistent, but ultimately fruitless season that was punctuated by moments of strategic ineptitude. The Monegasque must wait another year to attempt to dethrone Max Verstappen. 

Leclerc’s title challenge was ultimately a false prophecy. Much was made of Ferrari’s advanced preparation for the new era of Formula 1 car, and under the night sky at the Bahrain International circuit back in March, it looked like the stars would align for the Monégasque.

Quick off the line

Ferrari clearly had the pace. For many years, Ferrari had set their sights on the rule changes that were set to be introduced in 2022, and the hope was that the Italian manufacturer could propel itself up the grid following years of underwhelming mediocrity.

The early signs were more than positive. Leclerc took pole and then the race victory in the opening Bahrain Grand Prix as Ferrari took an astonishing one-two, their first since Singapore in 2019.

But even in their pomp, it was evident that Ferrari wouldn’t have things entirely their own way. Verstappen hit back in Saudi Arabia, finishing less than a second ahead of Leclerc before the Monaco-born driver returned to winning ways in Australia.

At this stage of the season, Leclerc was driving flawlessly, and the Ferrari was clearly the quickest car on track. Only the brilliance of Verstappen, who at the time was seemingly driving beyond the capacities of his own machinery, was denying the Monegasque driver from constructing a considerable early lead.

But that was as good as it got for Leclerc. A rare error cost him at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, and by the time the grid headed for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix in May, it felt as though the tide had turned.

Monaco curse continues

Ferrari’s development had seemingly stalled, whilst Red Bull continued to improve their car, closing the gap to their rival, and ultimately outperforming them just five races into the season. Their ascent was confirmed with a one-two in Barcelona, a race in which Leclerc was forced to retire with a mechanical issue.

Going into his home Grand Prix in Monaco, Leclerc’s task was two-fold: reassert his title credentials, and end the ‘Monaco Curse.’ Just a fortnight before the race, the omens weren’t good. Leclerc’s ceremonial parade of Niki Lauda’s Ferrari 312 B3 ended in disaster as a brake failure saw him hit the barriers at Rascasse.

Speaking to Monaco Life before the race, Leclerc nonetheless dispelled notions of ill fortune.

“It’s true that when I look at the last races at home, and of course a couple of weeks ago, I haven’t been lucky, but I don’t believe in bad luck. I do, however, believe that there is balance in life. I’m sure that all those years off poor luck will be compensated for down the line. Hopefully, that will start this year,” he said.

However, it wasn’t to be for Leclerc. In the first of many tactical hiccups, Ferrari spent too long on intermediate tyres in drying conditions in Monte-Carlo, and Sergio Perez expertly deployed the undercut, overtaking the home favourite in the pits, and securing the victory. Leclerc didn’t even make the podium.

Title challenge skids off track

By the time the British Grand Prix came around in July, Leclerc’s title challenge was on the ropes. Verstappen had won in Canada and then in Azerbaijan, and it looked like he had the machinery to match his prodigious talent.

While it was too early to talk about nails going in coffins, Ferrari’s calamitous error to leave Leclerc out on worn tyres when in the lead after a late safety car, felt terminal. The Monégasque should have secured the race victory, but he was eaten up in the dying laps and didn’t even manage a podium place.

Frustrated with his team’s decision-making, he was reprimanded, on camera, by Mattia Binotto. The start-of-season optimism had certainly dissipated. Leclerc’s victory on Red Bull soil in Austria was Ferrari’s last hurrah before Leclerc’s season quite literally hit the skids in France. In the lead of the race, he careered into the barriers. Verstappen was all too pleased to pick up the pieces, and Leclerc and Ferrari would fail to win again in 2022.

Ominous dominance

From the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards, Verstappen was nothing short of imperious. The Dutchman won nine of the remaining 11 races on the calendar, overall securing 15 races across the season – a Formula 1 record. The impressive record was not only a testament to his own uncontested talents but also the rate of development of the Red Bull itself. In comparison, the Ferrari looked like it was moving through treacle. They couldn’t keep up with their rivals.

Verstappen wrapped up his second world title with four races to spare, and his team secured the constructors with three races remaining. Ferrari had no response to Red Bull’s ominous dominance, but they did nonetheless finish the season on a positive note.

Leclerc’s second place in Abu Dhabi secured him the vice-champion title against all odds, with the Ferrari team outmatching Red Bull’s strategy, and punishing their decision to pit Perez.

Ultimately, however, Leclerc is left clinging to consolations this season. Towards the end of the campaign, he was willing on the winter break. How he and his team use the off-season will dictate Ferrari’s fate next season. Lessons must be learnt from last season if Leclerc and Ferrari are to mount a lasting challenge to Verstappen’s supremacy next time around.



Photo source: Alberto-g-Rovi



A busy and diverse weekend of sport in the Principality

It is set to be a hectic weekend of sports in Monaco and fans will have a wealth of options to choose from, with rowing, fencing and cycling events all taking place.

Following a successful debut last winter, Beking Monaco returns for its second edition. Stars from the world of cycling, such as Matteo Trentin, Tadej Pogacar and Davide Formolo will form part of the peloton that will tour Monte-Carlo and Port Hercule on Sunday 27th November.

Spectators can enjoy two events: the professional event, which will follow the Formula One track, and the Pro-Am, which gives amateurs the chance to ride alongside their idols.

Alongside the on-track action, there will be multiple expo events, and workshops for children to improve their cycling skills. In the Beking village, there will also be DJ sets and entertainment throughout the day.

Those in search of nautical entertainment won’t be disappointed either. On Saturday and Sunday, the 17th edition of the Prince Albert II Challenge will take place.

The coastal rowing event returns to the shores of the Principality with 20 teams taking part in the weekend-long event. A total prize of €15,000 will be shared among the top five teams, with the winner taking home €5,000. Three Monegasque teams will take part in the event.

From the water to the piste, there is also something for fencing fans to savour this weekend. The 35th edition of the Mens’ Fencing Tournament and the 34th edition of the Senior Women’s National Fencing Circuit will take place in Monaco on Saturday and Sunday in the multi-sport hall at the Espace Saint-Antoine.

The finals of both events will get underway on Sunday at 4.30pm, with entry to the event free.


Photo by Beking Monaco

Prince Albert and Princess Grace Hospital inaugurate new robotic cardiology space

Prince Albert II was at the Princess Grace Hospital this week to visit the new robotic navigation room that will treat heart rhythm disorders, making it only the third hospital in the world to have such advanced equipment.

The latest equipment in the Centre Hospitalier Princesse Grace’s (CHPG) arsenal comes in the form of a new machine that uses magnetic robotic navigation to surgically remove tissue causing heart arrhythmias. It is operated remotely by computer.

Called the Robotic Navigation Room, it was unveiled on Wednesday 23rd November in a ceremony that brought Prince Albert II in for a visit, allowing him to witness how the system works, albeit not on an actual patient but via a “false heart” installed just for the presentation.

Though robotics have been used in these kinds of operations in Monaco since 2006, this next-gen machine uses ultrasound rather than radiofrequency or cryotherapy, better protecting surrounding tissue. It is also far faster than the old method, meaning patients are not under anaesthesia as long.

The CHPG now joins hospitals in the US and Finland in having such a sophisticated treatment option. Upward of 300 ablation operations are done in Monaco each year, with the patient’s average age hovering at about 60.

In additional to the new room, the Prince was on hand as the cardiology department was presented with the label of a European Centre of Excellence in the treatment of arterial hypertension by the European Society of Hypertension.

Going from strength to strength, CHPG is working hard to stay at the forefront of modern methods aimed at keeping the population healthier and longer.



Photo source: Monaco Communications Department

Dangerous shortage of basic medication in France

France is running worryingly low on stocks of paracetamol and amoxicillin, a keystone antibiotic. The shortage has led two French health organisations to warn that “all the conditions are met for a major public health crisis”, particularly regarding the treatment of common childhood illnesses.  

A strongly worded joint communiqué from the French Society of Paediatrics (SFP) and the French-speaking Society of Infectious Pathologies (SPILF) was released on Tuesday 22nd November.  

“All the conditions are met for a major public health crisis in paediatrics within a few days,” warned the organisations. “The stocks of alternatives to the paediatric forms of amoxicillin will not be able to last beyond a few weeks.” 

This latest supply shortage comes on the back of a shortfall in paracetamol that has dogged France since early autumn, with the French press reporting empty shelves of children’s Doliprane and other mainstream alternatives in pharmacies across the country, while doctors were warned to only subscribe minimal amounts in other to ensure there was enough to go around.  

Now it’s the turn of amoxicillin, an antibiotic used widely in paediatrics that helps treat bacterial infections such as chest infections, including pneumonia, ear infections and dental issues. It is the syrup form of amoxicillin that is most scarce, and the most favoured among doctors when treating young patients, but it is feared the deficit could spread to other forms of the drug and similar antibiotics in the coming weeks. 

France is Europe’s fourth largest consumer of antibiotics according to the European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Consumption Network, behind Greece, Romania and Bulgaria.  



Photo source: Unsplash

Monaco’s free buses: National Council seeks to extend the scheme

The Principality’s trial of a free bus service is due to end this Sunday, but despite a month-long survey of passenger opinion, the government’s findings are not convincing, leading the National Council to call for an extension of the scheme into spring 2023.  

In the last few days, employees from the Alyce Research Office have been on the ground asking passengers questions on the trial period and evaluating the impact of free travel on usage.  

The goal is to determine if the measure is doing what was hoped, namely changing travel habits to lessen overall road traffic, reduce CO2 emissions and increase quality of life for commuters, visitors and residents. 

Initial feedback from 16th November was not terribly convincing. Céline Caron-Dagioni, Minister of Public Works, the Environment and Urban Planning, said of the free test, “The first indicators show us there is no reduction in road traffic. But the test is still in progress and we should not draw too hasty conclusions. For the moment, we tend to see a modal shift of the opportunistic pedestrian who enters the bus sometimes just for a stop. We have to cross-reference this data with the entrances and exits of car parks, which we do not yet have at this stage.” 

As it stands, the free service will come to an end on Sunday 27th November, but the National Council is keen to extend the trial until spring 2023, which members say would allow more time to analyse any changes to habits.  

In a press release, the Council made clear its position: “This would provide the necessary hindsight to analyse the evolution of behaviour in a more relevant way, while leaving more time for residents to change their habits in the long term, by favouring softer mobility for all their travels in the city.” 

When questioned recently on the extension request, Minister of State Pierre Dartout said that the government “has no position and has not yet made a decision.”  



Photo source: Monaco Communications Department