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A Profitable Stock Market Opportunity in Beirut, Lebanon

21 August 2006 - Features - Editor

The stock market is rudimentary, relatively new, and small as well by international standards. The country has only just begun to recover from years of strife and has a virtually stagnant and relatively small GDP. A majority of the people are poor in comparison to their regional peers. It seems to make sense that no American company has listed on the Beirut Stock Exchange as of June 2006, but on deeper reflection it may appear that we are about to miss the boat!

The European Union has certainly stolen a march on other parts of the developed world, with significant funds for Lebanon, especially by way of Bond finance. The country has invaluable water resources, which is particularly important considering the desert-like eco-system in which so much of the Middle East and North Africa is located. Lebanon has an agricultural base of much substance and variety, and the people, who are from various Muslim and Christian sects, have learnt to live together in peace. There are clear signs that Lebanon is on the path to economic reform and development.

The Beirut Stock Market plays an eminently functional role in the reconstruction of the country. It has taken the first steps by evolving reliable regulatory systems. It has the advantage of liberal national laws on matters of financial policy, which are uncommon in the region. The freedom to invest and to repatriate profits is a big plus for U.S. and other foreign companies, who wish to operate in Lebanon for mutual advantage.

An excessive preoccupation with economies in traditional strongholds, and the popular attractions of the Chinese and Indian economies can sometimes hide other worthwhile opportunities from view. We all know that some of the best opportunities reside in unearthing the best future prospects early in the development cycle. Lebanon is a prime candidate for rapid and sustained economic development, and the Beirut Stock Market is now suitably structured to handle the investment rush.

 


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