Economics & Policy articles

Not so precious Metal

Not so precious Metal

Reading Time: 4 minutes 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

Reading Time: 5 minutes 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

Bursting bubbles in the gulf

Reading Time: 5 minutes We have mentioned over the last six months, that the Gulf markets, and in particular the Saudi stock market had gotten ahead of itself. The metrics we used were always simple to understand: the market capitalization had surpassed the national productive economy by a measurable distance. In fact, at its peak in February of this

An unbeaten Risk-Taker

Reading Time: 4 minutes Even for the most extra-ordinary skier, neither acumen nor experience can prepare oneself for the mortal threat of an avalanche. Philippe Jabre learnt this last year. In February 2005, Jabre, then the star trader for London hedge fund GLG Partners, was skiing in Courchevel with his wife Zaza, a client and two guides when a

The shrinking factor

Reading Time: 3 minutes For a long time, there was a widespread belief in Lebanon that the Lebanese sector was highly diversified given the large number of banks (at one stage, the sector had more than 80 institutions). The fact remains that this diversification of the banking system was nothing more than an old myth that had turned into

Alain Greenspan: Genius or Liability

Reading Time: 4 minutes Alan Greenspan became something of a cult figure in the financial markets during his reign as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, both in the financial markets and in the media. As central banker of the largest economic powerhouse, his every move and utterance were scrutinized as markets boomed and reeled, often based on his speeches

Growing pains in the Bekaa Valley

Reading Time: 6 minutes Today’s Bekaa farmers feel alienated by a government that does not prioritize agriculture and are unable to make ends meet. They are demanding the government reconsider its decision to phase out sugar beet subsidies. Meanwhile the owners of the Lebanese Sugar Factory, who claim they stand to lose millions by the decision, also claim they

Lebanon’s Fragile Strength

Reading Time: 4 minutes As we keep hammering in many articles, the end game for a country like Lebanon is to attract and keep foreign investors. The thinking goes that foreign investment in the private sector will serve to offset the debt-laden public sector and help fuel economic growth. As eloquently put by our economics minister, economic growth needs

The long and winding road to beirut

Reading Time: 7 minutes Between the first round of investigations by the Mehlis Commission and the killing of MP Gebran Tueni, the “Beirut I” donor conference briefly became news. National interest peaked in September 2005, a week before the Annual Meetings in New York of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), when Prime Minister Seniora, surrounded

Semaan Bassil

Reading Time: 8 minutes The Byblos Bank Group, Lebanon’s third largest financial group, started the year 2006 with decisions to list all its shares and increase its capital by a massive amount, right on the heels of a $164.8 million rights issue by which the bank doubled its share capital to $329.6 million in the last quarter of 2005.