19 JUNE 2002
Comic this week: Monstrous chorus
The investment market
In New York, London and Tokyo investors will be holding their horses, for the worst is not over.
There are good reasons to look around and see what is happening.
The American economy is still the key to all economic growth and as such it is still has not overcome its lack of consumer confidence and one could say it is still within a double-dip recession.
There are other factors playing their roles as well, namely that the corporate giants have taken many of their shareholders for a ride.
A combination of fraud and accounting fraud have left investors big and small alike worried and concerned.
There have been some serious setbacks that have left all institutions in unchartered waters. The Church of England has admittedly lost over 800 million sterling for taking the unwise decision of placing most of its pension funds in a major telecommunications portfolio.
There are other sad examples.
But as companies abroad react to a dynamic financial media and opinion makers, here in Malta they retain a sense of dejà vu and change their method of operating little.
Take a look at the registered companies at the Borza ta Malta and take note of any changes to their company structure and operations.
Nothing at all. They keep the same salary structures, the same staff complement and the same operations. Yet their losses remain significant, if not worrying.
Such a reality makes investing in the stock exchange nonsensical, unless companies start reacting to the markets and the signs on the wall.
Reassuring Mr Coleiro
Yesterdays letter to Tony Coleiro should put to rest the worries about an imminent closure at the docks.
Though it has to be said we cannot see why an enterprise should go on functioning if it loses money and depends on others to exist.
Economics Services Minister Profs Josef Bonnici wrote to Coleiro, the militant GWU and future Labour candidate, yesterday and explained that there was commitment from the government to keep the shipbuilding industry alive.
Mr Coleiro will take such assurances kindly. He is not the sort of guy to believe anyone.
Indeed, when the Labour government attempted to reform the dockyard they found in Mr Coleiro a thorn in its side.
Today they lend him credence and allow him to voice his exaggerated concerns to Labourite audiences over the Super One airwaves.
The facts are on the wall. The dockyard and shipyard workers have always had a better deal under a Nationalist government.
With all their talk about reform, the PN government has been more considerate, caring and worried over a backlash from the union and workers.
This approach has left a chorus of complaints from the biggest loser of all: the tax-payer.