Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fruits of economic crisis

It is Wednesday morning and I received news about looming economic crisis in my own garden. While walking down the yard to get my morning newspaper from the mailbox I noticed that small gates were wide open. Later I realized that garden solar power generated lamps were stolen. Those lamps were cheap Chinese made, they were "green" and very effective during the night. The theft last night only confirms the general news that is spreading for last couple of months about the economy slowing, and hence the number of thefts and overall crime rate increasing.

Several garden owners have told me personally that the snatchers of onions and salads are back after two years absence and leaving "empty land" behind them. Such news were confirmed also by police constable whom I reported about the theft in my garden.

The Latvian news channels now weekly show people stealing gas from pumps and from trucks. Actually the funniest fact is that the "most needy" are the owners of SUV's who fake their car registration plates, and thus simply tank&leave from gas stations. Statoil and other gasoline retail market participants have been even discussing reintroduction of prepayment system in gas stations. Economists and foreign experts speak openly about economic crisis in Latvia and such news are confirmed by a number of factories closed. Yesterday machine tools producer Rebir announced that they are relocating to China. Some months ago Riga Yeast Factory was closed due to the sugar reform in Latvia. Thus molasses was stopped to be produced in Latvia, and to import it from Belarus was too expensive to the new owners of the factory.

The only entity that stubbornly refuses to admit that crisis is there is the government. Last week during the weekly Kas Notiek Latvijā? TV show the PM explained that he would accept the existence of crisis in the Latvian economy only if the GDP growth would turn out to be negative, thus even 0,1% economic growth does offer some optimism to him...whatta number cruncher he is:)

While wrangling with his numbers the rest of governing coalition wrangles with the head of the KNAB, Mr Loskutovs. On Wednesday the governmental commission headed by the Prosecutor General must pass their verdict. Lets wait and hear...

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