Society articles

Extra Virgin

Olive oil has been a staple of the Middle Eastern diet for millenniums and demand for the product remains high. Global consumption of olive oil has been increasing at 1.5% per annum over the past decade. Market demand for this product is expected to continue as the apparent health benefits of olive oil, and an

Death of a shopping district – BCD retailers cry SOS

One week into the opposition demonstrations that effectively paralyzed commerce in the capital throughout much of December, a few hardy businesses in the Beirut Central District (BCD) cautiously opened their doors – despite the presence of the Lebanese Army and its armor, dogged protesters, and coils of razor wire – to holiday shoppers. They hung

Regional retail boom counting on luxury

After several years of sluggish turnover, the global luxury industry roared into life in 2006, with worldwide sales reaching a hefty $150 billion. A testament to the industry’s revival is the number of flagship stores spawning around the globe from such über brands as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Hermes and Gucci. By 2010, the Middle East

Pioneering Real Estate

As many developers and investors eyed the Lebanese real estate market cautiously at the start of 2007, Bassil Real Estate Developers (BREI) attracted significant local and regional attention for moving forward with new projects despite political uncertainty. Last month, BREI formally unveiled plans for the seventh edition of its luxury Convivium brand, a $15 million

BoB: a new Frontier

Bank of Beirut (BoB) took a leap into a new market last month by opening a branch in Oman. BoB is determined to pursue its strategy of growth and expansion despite the local political upheaval gripping Lebanon, where the bank has grown in the past 13 years into a major innovative player. BoB is the

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