Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Lebanon, Israel: Lebanese Business Somehow Continues, Economic Future Bleak

Still Trading & Shipping
Showing the Lebanese resilience in face of conflict, Beirut's stock market resumed trading after a two-week closure, trading volume was "reasonable". Lebanon's international and local "delivery network is still in working order." according to this article, quoting spokesmen for DHL and local carrier Libanpost. "We haven't faced any serious delay in shipment, apart from near the beginning of the attacks when the roads were closed. Other businesses have shifted operations to the mountain areas where some of Lebanon's better off citizens are taking refuge.

Economic Crisis, Tourism, Workforce, Drain

As this article points out, unemployment is expected to jump from 10 to 16 percent.This is a "severe blow to an economy that had been expected to grow by 5 percent this year." Particularly hard hit is the tourism industry of Lebanon, which has essentially lost the entire summer season due to the conflict.

There is a workforce drain as hundreds of thousands of refugees who fled the country may not return, particularly those with dual nationality. There is a significant brain drain as thousands of those who left were engineers and skilled professionals.

Environmental Disaster

As AFP notes The Mediterranean is threatened by its worst ever environmental disaster after Israel's bombing of a power plant in Lebanon sent thousands of tonnes of fuel gushing into the sea, the environment minister charged on Saturday.