Economics & Policy articles

Stockholm on our minds

The most surprising development in this conflict may actually be the most positive – the unprecedented support of the international community for Lebanon, its government, and its people. As economist Marwan Iskandar notes, “This is the first time in the history of Lebanon that the country had received this kind of money.” Although aid began

Industrial revolution blues

Although in many ways, industry was less affected by the month-long conflict with Israel than other sectors, it faces one of the most challenging recovery processes. Speaking with Executive in days leading up to the conference in Sweden, Lebanese industrialists emphasized the need for strong government support in rehabilitating the embattled sector. Mohammed Zeidan, the

There are still signs of life

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) warned that, as a consequence of the recent conflict, Lebanon’s 2006 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could shrink by some 10%, taking the national debt of almost $40 billion to twice the size of the country’s national income. The Lebanese Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) has stated that Lebanon sustained

Buying to the sound of cannons

Perhaps the most crucial elements of any capital market, especially an emerging market, are confidence and liquidity. During the devastating days of the conflict between Hizbullah and Israel, both took direct hits. Shortly after the start of the conflict, the Beirut Stock Exchange decided to close. This closure, though guided by pure reasoning was a

A real future for Beirut’s financial center potential

During the 1960s and 1970s, Beirut was globally acknowledged as the banking center of the Middle East. Lebanese banks flourished and built up strong franchises by picking up petro-dollar deposits from Gulf investors – particularly after the 1973 oil crisis. Foreign banks increasingly chose Beirut as a regional hub. Beirut, with its cosmopolitan outlook, was

Lebanon must heed world bank warnings

While some of the indications of summer tourist activity in Lebanon are encouraging, we must never forget that our economy is structurally weak. The tourist season this summer could well be a stellar one, with some estimates reaching 1.6 million visitors. This is welcome news in view of the political quagmire and overall insecurity plaguing

Crude Reality

As tensions between Iran and the US have subsided somewhat, it may be time to revisit the crude oil market that monopolized so many headlines in recent weeks. While we rejected outright the claim that $100-a-barrel oil was around the corner, the geopolitical risk pushed oil briefly up to the mid-70s per barrel. Things have

Not so precious Metal

There is almost unanimity on the precious metals among market participants. Almost every analyst, every brokerage house, and all speculative type players have their eyes glued to gold and silver. There has also been a drag effect from other markets, such as oil and copper, and since historically, they tend to move in tandem, the

Hedge Your bets

Founded by Marc Hochar, a former Lebanese investment banker who had spent his entire professional life (more than 13 years) in investment banking and global markets with US investment bank JP Morgan, Melkart Capital has become the talk of Lebanese financial circles and the region. Melkart is the first large-scale international “fund of funds” to