Malta Stock Exchange fails to
react to Iraq conflict
Despite the fact that Malta is increasingly participating
in a world economy that becomes more globalised by the day, Maltas
stock market is still to respond to the crisis in Iraq.
In fact, the Malta Stock Exchange has seen business as usual since the
outbreak of the conflict, which has sent international share indices
skyrocketing and plummeting in turn, and in the same stroke has provided
ample room for short-term profits on international markets.
In fact, the companies listed on the MSE thought most likely to suffer
as a result of the conflict through their integral involvement in the
tourism sector - Suncrest Hotels, International Hotel Investments and
Malta International Airport have fluctuated little since the
onset of war in the Gulf region.
In fact, only MIA shares have seen any fluctuation worth mentioning
and the equity, up to yesterday, has only dropped 5c at that. Meanwhile,
the total share index at the Malta Stock Exchange stands at basically
the same level as it stood on 20 March, the day the bombing of Baghdad
This is perhaps a reflection of the Maltese shareholders detachment
from events taking place in the rest of the world and their tendency
to buy up shares with the aim of collecting yearly dividends, as opposed
to taking a more proactive role with their investments.
However, its still early days in a war that is expected to run
into months instead of weeks and the overall effect of the conflict
on Malta is yet to be gauged. The coming weeks, for example, should
provide an indication of the short to medium term future prospects of
listed companies operating in the tourism sector.
It could be said that the Maltese investor is standing firm in the face
of the global economic speculation sweeping most of the world, but once
these prospects become more tangible, the investor is expected to react