Saturday, August 17, 2013

Security worries strike Lebanon’s economy

Beirut stock exchange

Beirut stock exchange
By Justin Salhani
BEIRUT, Lebanon ‒ Lebanon’s volatile security situation is negatively affecting the country’s economy, which will continue to spiral downward short of a major political breakthrough, say economists, business owners and members of the banking sector.
“Every major dip [in revenue] is due to a security incident like a demonstration, a bomb or an assassination,” said Ziad Kamel, 32, treasurer of the Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, from his office in Beirut’s Gemmayze neighborhood.
In years past, political assassinations and large-scale protests briefly scared consumers off the streets, but before long they resumed frequenting Beirut’s famous nightlife.
Today, although clashes have been restricted to a few specific neighborhoods throughout Lebanon, the tourism industry has been knocked by consistent instability, political chaos and the war in neighboring Syria. Sources say tourism comprises as much as 20 percent of Lebanon’s GDP.

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