Home' Baird Maritime : August 2011 Contents Lines on paper
You may be reading this in August, but as I write, it is in fact
July 1, which I gather is the start of a new financial year in
some parts of the world.
No doubt accountants celebrate with frenzied new spreadsheet
creation or similar crazy antics. My interest in the world of finance
doesn't stray beyond my bank balance, and I assure you that
there's not much there to spend time contemplating. Perhaps I
should take up one of the more mystical philosophies or religions
-- I'm sure there must be one that encourages time spent deep in
thought about nothingness.
As usual, I digress. I may not be interested in global finance, but
others evidently are. One such person is a friend of a friend of an
acquaintance. Let's call him Greg, because Greg is very much an
accountant's name. So anyway, Greg created a graph that, for
some reason got sent to me via aforementioned friend and
acquaintance. With a bit of luck, is reproduced on this page.
I am reliably advised that it shows the comparative change in
value of various currencies compared with the US dollar over the
last five years. So, for example, the Japanese yen now buys 30
percent more greenbacks than it did five years ago, while the Brits
get about 15 percent fewer bucks for their (apparently not
particularly sterling) sterling.
Now, before we get too much further, I should mention that the
currencies are apparently not chosen at random (as I had thought).
Apparently they are the world's "top ten" currencies (eleven when
you include the US dollar), in that if you go through the world's
biggest economies they are the first currencies that are used (the euro
obviously covering a few different economies). Greg was at pains to
point out that the GDP data was from the IMF. I don't pretend to
know what either really is, though I have heard something about the
IMF in the news recently... something about a hotel maid.
So, what do all these lines mean? Not much to me, that's for
sure, but Greg was adamant that people working in international
business would find it fascinating. I figure that might include some
of my readers. Perhaps one or more of you might want to tell me
what it means to you?
Don't panic... it's drinks as usual
Speaking of important financial issues, I would like to thank an
Australian correspondent who alerted me to a government press
release issued there recently. If you've ever met an Australian, you
may understand why this merited a government announcement. If
not, you'll probably think this is an internet hoax. Try to believe
me when I say that the press release was issued by the Minister for
Alcohol Policy (what a job...).
The key implications are enunciated in the headline: "Territory
government rules out raising price of beer."
And the final few words from the minister: "... it is drinks as
usual for the rest of us."
Certainly one for the file marked "Memorable Press Releases"!
The Libyan cruise industry model is not looking so rosy these
days. As I may have predicted, shipbuilder STX France "has
rescinded the contract with the General National Maritime
Transport Company (GNMTC) -- the Libyan state-owned shipping
company -- for the construction of a 140,000-tonne cruise vessel
for delivery end-2012. The reason for the rescission is the default
of payment from GNMTC."
I'll bet nobody was too keen to go chasing the
On the upside for the country's industry, the French recently
admitted to providing the "other side" in Libya with some
hardware, officially to help them defend themselves. French-made
equipment, no doubt.
STX certainly takes the swings and roundabouts of politics and
defence in its stride, happily signing up to build two Mistral-class
helicopter carriers for Russia under a subcontract with DCNS. If
WikiLeaks can be trusted, this deal got diplomatic tongues
wagging when it was first mooted. Some people, it seems,
remember the good old days of the Cold War, when NATO, with
significant French involvement, was formed to stop the Russians
invading. Not that anyone would use a helicopter carrier to invade
anywhere of course...
Got a tip? -- Aft_Lines@hotmail.com or Find me on Facebook
The best is not
always left to last
August 2011 BAIRD MARITIME
Apparently this will mean something to you if you are worldly. Americans
looking for cheaper overseas vacations than in the past should consider the
UK, not Japan or Australia.
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