Economics & Policy articles

Open for trading: The DIFX takes off

Open for trading: The DIFX takes off

Reading Time: 5 minutes Since the fateful events of 9/11 in New York, the phenomenon of investment repatriation by Gulf Arabs has accelerated significantly. Indeed, since 2002, Saudi investors are believed to have withdrawn more than $300 billion of investments from the US, while other Gulf countries are also said to have reeled-in roughly the same amount, if not

Protecting the integrity of Banks

Reading Time: 4 minutes The UN investigation into the assassination of former premier Rafik Hariri has impacted the financial scene. The work of German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis and his team to uncover suspects behind the murder created a stir when a request for banking secrecy laws to be lifted from the accounts of certain individuals key to the enquiry

Corruption: How bad was it?

Reading Time: 5 minutes Since the Syrian retreat last April and the euphoria of the Cedar Revolution a month earlier, more and more examples of how public money was squandered, stolen or simply squirreled away have come to light, strengthening the case for privatization and even leading to calls for a formal audit of the handling of public finances

Sami Haddad

Reading Time: 10 minutes Following an exceptionally tortuous government formation process, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora unveiled a 24-member cabinet on July 19. Among the new faces on the political scene was Sami Haddad, brought in from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – the World Bank’s private sector arm – to head the ministry of economy and trade. Armed with

All pumped up

Reading Time: 4 minutes Back in April 2004, we discussed oil in these pages, making the judgment that at nearly $50 per barrel, oil was getting into treacherously elevated price territory. The frenzy that ensued carried prices well beyond that to what they stand at above $65 per barrel today. The world financial media has been mesmerized by the

Ottoman chic

Reading Time: 6 minutes Lebanon’s architectural heritage has had a rough 50 years. Ever since the economic boom of the 1950s, which spurred real estate growth, launching the era of concrete modern high-rises at the expense of turn-of-the-century old buildings, the latter have been dwindling. Those that withstood the civil war were subsequently threatened with demolishment, as owners without

Lebanon and syria which needs the other more?

Reading Time: 8 minutes As the border crisis between Lebanon and Syria unfolded over the last two months, the bars of Beirut and the family restaurants of the Old City of Damascus were host to boisterous and often heated conversations on how it was time for each country to “go it alone.” The fallout from the late prime minister

Guaranteed Returns

Reading Time: 6 minutes Investors with a lower risk appetite or a shorter investment time horizon generally prefer to seek out an investment arrangement that provides a degree of certainty over capital, while seeking returns related to the performance of some of the world’s stock markets. Capital protected funds, also called guaranteed funds, are created to fill this need

Coming up with the funds

Reading Time: 5 minutes The Lebanese financial sector has long been dominated by commercial banks, which have grown significantly in the post-war period. Indeed, customer deposits have increased threefold since 1995 to reach the $60 billion mark by the end of the first quarter of 2005. However, this phenomenal growth was more or less cancelled out by the banks

Theories from the fringe

Reading Time: 8 minutes Even the most strident hawks in Washington could not have anticipated the stunning costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have cost American taxpayers more than $314 billion so far, to the extent that the Bush administration’s open-ended commitment has raised concerns, even among war supporters. At the rate the United States is