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Lebanon Opportunities

Lebanon Opportunities December 2017

Lebanon Opportunities is a quarterly business magazine that covers: Finance, Real estate, Economy, and Local business. Lebanon Opportunities has tens of thousands of readers in Lebanon and across the globe. It is the prime local business magazine in Lebanon in terms of readership, advertising, and name-awareness. Lebanon Opportunities is written to a target of small business owners, entrepreneurs and middle management, as well as to Lebanese living abroad. It aims at bringing complex business issues in a simple manner understandable by readers who are not experts and whose English language is not the mother tongue.

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3 min
a crisis that made us stronger

What a rollercoaster last month was! The political crisis engendered monetary and economic panic, and fear of the unknown. All went back into order, political discourse fell back to within accepted boundaries. With stability, the economy can resume its course. As usual, there are no losers in our local politics. Here are some of the lessons learned. NEVER BET AGAINST THE LIRA! The abrupt resignation of the Prime Minister, encouraged – to say the least – by the authorities in Riyadh, brought our country, for a short while, into direct confrontation with one of its closest allies. Unprepared for such an unlikely development, markets went haywire. Other startling events in the Saudi capital helped fuel many rumors. War drums were heard, and the forecast was that the worst was yet to come.…

1 min
bits & bytes

SOUND BYTES Go look for new markets President Michel Aoun The call to look for new markets is just a slogan Mohamed Choucair, Chairman of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce Paris IV is scheduled for March 2018 Prime Minister Saad Hariri Tripoli’s credentials qualify it to become the country’s economic capital Yacoub Sarraf, Minister of Defense Do not blame a citizen who leaves his homeland, but rather blame the country that has given up on its citizens Gebran Bassil, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants We have become more mature in dealing with crisis Raed Khoury, Minister of Economy and Trade The market has reversed, we are now buying dollars Riad Salameh, Governor of the Central Bank Preventive policies of the Central Bank and banks have proven to be effective in time of crisis Joseph Torbey, Chairman of the Association of Banks There were…

8 min
in good company

BLACK FRIDAY HAD WHITE RESULTS Over the final weekend of last month, retailers engaged in ‘Black Friday’, an Americaninspired occasion that comes a day after Thanksgiving on which special discounts are offered. Nicolas Chammas, Chairman of the Beirut Traders Association, expects this year’s Black Friday sales to reach $200 million. Local retailers have slightly shifted the concept, extending the occasion over three to four days, rather than just one. Chammas said that Black Friday became a trend in the U.S. during the recession in the 1950s and then became tradition. “Locally, discounts are being done throughout the year. This situation has been going on since 2011, when sales dropped by 30 percent,” said Chammas. Discounts during Black Friday were 10-70 percent. “The danger is that discounts reach December and affect the…

4 min
money & banking

LIRA SECURED BY CENTRAL BANK CAPABILITIES The Governor of the Central Bank, Riad Salameh, affirmed the stability of the lira. He cited financial operations carried out by the Central Bank and cooperation with the banking sector in his assessment. “The lira will remain stable and it is based on the existing capabilities of the Central Bank,” he said. “The Central Bank has built a monetary model that takes into account the financial and economic data of the country and has contingency plans to deal with negative surprises,” he said. Salameh was not worried about the situation of banks. “Banks have liquidity and a long history of dealing with customers,” he said. The Central Bank controls liquidity through special operations and through the sale of the dollar. The State paid all its…

2 min
official business

PROPERTY REGISTRY E-SERVICES LAUNCHED The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has launched six real estate electronic services on a mobile application and on the website of the General Directorate of Land Registry and Cadaster (GDLRC) (www.lrc.gov.lb). The e-services allow users to access the Title Register (Al Sahifah Al Ikariah). They can track transactions and their paid invoices, and request ownership statements. The e-services include a simulation feature to estimate the fee to be paid. Users can also be informed through email and mobile phone alerts about Title Register changes such as new registrations and title deed issuances. Georges Maarawi, Director General of Real Estate Affairs at the MoF, said that work is underway to electronically connect the Public Corporation for Housing (PCH) to the General Directorate of Real Estate Affairs (GDREA). This…

3 min
matters of fact

BEIRUT CHAMBER SEES STABLE EXPORTS The Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Beirut and Mount Lebanon reported a small growth in ‘real exports’ in the first six months of the year compared to 2016. The tonnage of exports, however, shot up 36 percent. Real exports exclude mineral products, gold, pearls, and precious and semi-precious stones. In terms of value, the Chamber issued certificates of origin for exports worth $1.4 billion, up 4 percent from the first six months of last year. The price of raw materials had fallen in the past year because of the drop in international oil prices. This made local merchandise less expensive, but more competitive. Base metals represent the biggest share, 38 percent, of total exports. Food industry exports grew 53 percent to $176 million. Electrical…