Society articles

Lebanon’s real estate sector in the air – Rebuilding Beirut on hold

Lebanon’s real estate sector in the air – Rebuilding Beirut on hold

At the end of 2006, both good and bad news is emerging from Beirut’s real estate sector. On the positive front, none of Lebanon’s prime properties was directly hit in the summer war between Israel and Hizbullah. No major sell-offs took place, and prices across the board have held steady. Furthermore, there was no widespread

Calling all tourists – Picking up the pieces

After an outstanding first half of 2006 and a catastrophic second, any recovery for the tourist industry is once again at the mercy of political stability. The last two years have hardly been a smooth ride for those working in Lebanon’s beleaguered tourist industry. Beset by high-profile assassinations, troop withdrawals, car bombs, an under-funded government

Turkey’s CA woes Reform needed

With the release of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF)’s report on the fourth and fifth review for Turkey’s standby agreement, the state of the country’s finances has come under fresh scrutiny from market observers, with ongoing concern over the size of the current account (CA) deficit. Strong economic growth coupled with high oil prices has

Lebanon’s rosy 2006 shattered by war and political killing

As recently as early November 2006, local and regional economic experts were projecting exponential growth across all sectors of Lebanon’s economy, including rapid recovery from the damages caused by the 34-day war between Hizbullah and Israel this summer. But given the assassination of Lebanon’s Minister of Industry, Pierre Gemayel, on the eve of National Day

Beirut’s banking sector healthy but challenges lie ahead

The Lebanese banking sector has survived and thrived through not one but two major shocks in two years: the assassination of Rafik Hariri in 2005 and the Israeli-Hizbullah war in the summer of 2006. A younger or less experienced banking sector would have collapsed under shocks like these, but the shrewdness of Lebanese bankers and

Beirut Stock Exchange under pressure to meet regional standards

The vision line of Lebanon’s capital markets on new horizons for 2007 is about as unrestricted as a peek across a Scottish Highland moor in a foggy night. The sights are potentially spectacular, but highly elusive. And that although things had been looking exceedingly good early on in 2006—with a Beirut Stock Exchange that finally

Lebanon’s industry leaders call for help but pleas fall on deaf ears

While the Lebanese industrialists’ chorus of demands going into 2007 has certainly grown louder following the July-August war, their wish-list has changed only marginally. As 2006 approached, local manufacturers were lamenting the country’s perennial instability and pleading for the government to compensate the sector for lost income following the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik

The show must go on

Beirut Gate, the $600 million Abu Dhabi-financed real estate development in Solidere, is going ahead as planned. How quickly and successfully it does so will be a confidence test for the local market. Covering a total footprint of 21,448 m2 and a built-up area of 178,500 m2, the project consists of eight separate plots, on

Killing Mr. Lebanon – New book on target

On that sunny February day in 2005 when they killed Rafik Hariri, Basil Fuleihan and 21 others outside the St. Georges hotel, I was due to have lunch at Le Vendôme at 1pm. However, that morning the venue was changed. Had it not, and being the punctual sort, I would have arrived in Ain Mreisseh

Samsung’s growth in Middle East – CE giant hopes to expand its brand

This September in Berlin, in his keynote address at IFA 2006, the world’s largest consumer electronics exhibition, Samsung President and CEO Gee Sung Choi reviewed the tremendous success enjoyed by his company over the past few years and highlighted several exciting new developments on Samsung’s horizon. With 2005 parent company sales of $56.7 billion and