Portugal returns to bond market. Expats desert Spain. More botanical art.

Portugal faces important test.

The iOnline reports that Portugal is to return to the international bond market today. The last auction of bonds was on April 1, 2011, five days before Portugal asked for help from the Troika. “As promised, Portugal will return to public sale of long-term debt at an auction before the end of the adjustment program” the IGCP (Agency for the Management of Treasury and Public Debt) announced last week, specifically that it will hold an auction of ten year Treasury bonds today (23rd). The amount of bonds being sold is between €500 and €750 million, which apparently is relatively modest – its primarily aim is to test the response of investors, especially in buying debt with longer maturity (they are 10-year bonds). The last auction was held on April 1, 2011, when €1645 million of bonds were auctioned. These were shorter-term debt (15 month term) and the average interest rate 5.793%. I will see if I can establish what the reaction of the market was and add it here later.

Expats desert Spain in droves


Interesting article on the front page of the Telegraph online today The same story is also in the Mail online under a headline “How a life in the sun can spell misery” – reporting how those living in the Med were less happy than those living in Northern European countries.

Apparently nearly 90,000 Britons abandoned their Mediterranean dreams in Spain last year, according to new figures from Town Halls across the country. Registers have recorded a steep drop in the number of Britons, falling 23 per cent from 385,179 on Jan 1 last year to 297,229 at the end of December. Other European expatriates are also taking their leave – the registered German population fell by 23.6 per cent to 138,917 and the French population by 12.7 per cent to just over 100,000. The ongoing effects of the eurozone crisis, a huge property slump and a rapidly shrinking job market have contributed to the exodus, reducing Spain’s total population for the second year running. The only nationality to increase their presence in Spain were the Chinese.

Final piece of botanical art

The reproduction of the botanical art by Angie Gray over the last four blogs has generated very positive feedback. Signed prints are available, as of course are originals – anybody interested should e-mail the blog and I will put you directly in touch with Angie, who is based in Calheta. The final one is the flower of a tulip tree – I will put all of them on our Instagram site (link on the right) together with one of her current “work in progress” – an Angel Trumpet. Thanks Angie!


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Hotel occupancy up. EU unemployment. Lorry crash.

Hotels 80% full for Easter

The Regional Secretary of Culture, Tourism and Transport, Conceição Estudante revealed yesterday that hotel occupancy in Madeira at Easter is 80% – 10% more than in the same period in 2013.  The figures are based on a survey conducted by the Regional Directorate of Tourism covering hotel units in Madeira and Porto Santo. The Regional Secretary considered that the figures calculated for the sector are “very good”

EU long-term unemployment

Released yesterday, Eurostat unemployment data shows that nearly half of EU’s jobless have been out of work for over a year. This means long-term unemployment in the union’s 28 member states is the highest it has been for at least a decade. The Spanish regions of Andalusia, Ceuta, Melilla, the Canary Islands and Extremadura had the highest unemployment rates of the entire European Union with between 34% and 36% unemployment. The Eurostat study had even worse news for young people aged 15-24 in the worst hit regions, with Ceuta registering a youth unemployment rate of 71.7% (the worst in the EU), followed by Andalusia (66.1%) and the Canary Islands (65.3%).

In Portugal, the figures show Lisbon being the worst region (18.5% overall unemployment), followed by Madeira (18.3%) – the latter increasing from 17.5% in 2012. Can’t find any specific figures on youth unemployment here.

Lorry crash in São Roque

RTP Madeira report that a lorry crashed on the rotunda dos Viveiros (below the large Continente store) in the lower part of São Roque, at 5.00pm last night causing traffic congestion and preventing access to rua 5 de Outubro and Funchal. Apparently the wagon lost it’s load whilst negotiating the roundabout – the lorry crashed into a passenger car, whilst the container fell into the yard of a house, causing significant damage. The driver was injured – a fault in the braking system is suspected.

More botanical art

The third of four paintings by Angie Gray (see two previous blogs). This one a Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia):


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Machico Ultra Trail. Reduced pensions. Savoy. easyJet winter schedules.

Machico Ultra Trail

The Machico Ultra Trail takes place this coming weekend. The event seems to be growing in popularity year-upon-year (749 athletes from 24 different countries this year), and I understood that there was a series of mountain races of marathons/half-marathon length (42km/20km) based around Machico, but I had no idea that the “headline” race was 85km from one end of the island to the other:


Apparently runners have 26 hours to complete the course, which starts in Porto Moniz and climbs suicidally to Paul da Serra, levels out to Encumeada and then takes in Pico Ruivo before descending into Machico. If that isn’t enough there is an even longer race with a distance of 115km. Good luck to anybody mad enough (and fit enough) to even attempt this. More details here: http://madeiraultratrail.com/pten/en-GB/ and also on the appropriately named www.happyblister.com

Reduced income for pensioners

New rules have come into force today in reducing the tax threshold for pensioners to €1000 per month – any pension above this point will have contributions deducted (the previous level was €1350). This is a result of recent Portuguese budget amendments.


Following up on a question posted on the last blog regarding the rebuilding of the landmark hotel, a reader kindly sent in the following update as of earlier this week:


A small remnant of the old Savoy architectural styling is evident in the foreground and the Carlton in the background – metal hoardings block the view from the surrounding roads but nothing has happened for years. I understand that the new development was planned by two businessmen, one of whom died, and that the project is now in the hands of the bank that was financing them.


imageeasyJet’s Winter 2014/15 schedules were released yesterday (for travel up to 28th February).

Botanical art from Madeira

Finally, another painting from Angie Gray as promised, this time a Protea:


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