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Lebanon Opportunities

Lebanon Opportunities Mar-18

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
more of the shame

Last month was one of grand preparations. Political parties spent their days in behind-the-scenes negotiations to form alliances for the upcoming elections. The government was busy on two fronts. Talks are underway with potential donors who will attend the April Paris conference, and the draft 2018 budget is under serious review after it became evident that the estimated deficit will be too heavy to bear. UNHOLY ALLIANCES Parties from opposite sides held dozens of meetings with one another, crafting alliances tailor-made to each voting district. Basic principles, age-long enmities, and divergence in positions toward key policy matters were all thrown out of the window, paving the way to the rawest form of political opportunism. Even long-held political alliances may be fractured for this occasion – possibly to be resumed after the electoral…

1 min
bits & bytes

SOUND BYTES We fulfilled a big dream and we are entering a new phase in the oil sector President Michel Aoun We should clone the Governor of the Central Bank Riad Salameh Prime Minister Saad Hariri The promising financial, digital knowledge, and oil and gas sectors should be strengthened Patriarch Bechara El Raï The government is the culprit in the 2018 budget’s delay Ali Hassan Khalil, Minister of Finance Corruption will not enter the oil sector like it did in others Salim Jreissati, Minister of Justice In Israeli media and research centers, reports abound on huge quantities of oil and gas in the Golan. We must assume the same exists in the adjacent Shebaa Farms and Kfar Shouba hills Hassan Nasrallah, Leader of Hezbollah There is no great economic danger. We face debt impeding the economy. It…

8 min
in good company

CONSORTIUM WILL START EXPLORING DISPUTED BLOCK 9 The consortium of Total, ENI and Novatek, which won the tender to explore for oil and gas offshore, will drill an exploratory well in Block 9, 25 kilometers north of the southern border of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), according to Stephane Michele, Chairman of Exploration and Production at Total Middle East and North Africa. Michele said: “In 2019, we will begin by drilling the first well in Block 4, because we think it is most promising.” The consortium will then move to Block 9 to drill a second well. The exploration and production agreements were officially signed with the winning oil consortium in February. Fuad Krekshi, Executive Vice President of Middle East at ENI, said: “Offshore potential is promising. We hope to find…

3 min
money & banking

BDL CIRCULAR ON STIMULUS PACKAGE The Central Bank (BDL) has launched a new stimulus program to subsidize housing loans and lending to the productive sectors. BDL said in a new circular that it will subsidize up to $1 billion of loans this year. The loans denominated in lira that will be eligible for the subsidies total LL810 billion ($540 million), with the remaining $460 million consisting of loans denominated in US dollars. The dollar loans are mainly provided to the productive sectors. The lion’s share of the stimulus package consists of housing loans. Housing loans in lira represent 93 percent of the overall eligible loans in the national currency. They account for half of the overall package. The banks also provide subsidized housing loans in dollars to Lebanese expatriates. Interest rates…

11 min
official business

APRIL 6: CÈDRE (PARIS IV) CONFERENCE The government will seek funding for an infrastructure investment program worth between $16-17 billion at the Cèdre donor conference that will be held on April 6 in Paris, said Nabil El Jisr, Chairman of the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR). The Paris IV conference has been renamed Cèdre by its host, French President Emmanuel Macron. The government will propose the first two phases of more than 250 projects at the conference. These two phases are expected to cover a period of eight to ten years. Around 30 percent of the investments will be earmarked for the transportation sector, while water and sewage projects will get another 30 percent. Nearly 20 percent will be allocated to the electricity sector, with the remaining 20 percent to…

5 min
matters of fact

FOREIGN CURRENCY RESERVES BACK AT OVER $43 BILLION The Central Bank’s foreign currency reserves rebounded following the Prime Minister’s withdrawal of his resignation in early December and they are now back at more than $43 billion, said Riad Salameh, Governor of Banque du Liban (BDL), according to an interview with Bloomberg. Foreign reserves dropped to nearly $41.5 billion after the resignation in November. The recovery showed that confidence is “stronger after the crisis,” Salameh said. He said that the money outflows witnessed in the aftermath of the resignation have “returned gradually, with inflows exceeding outflows since Dec. 10.” The outflows, amounting to $2 billion in November, contributed to a slowdown in deposit growth to 3.8 percent, according to Salameh. In another related financial indicator, the staff of the International Monetary Fund…