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A customer paying with a credit card inside the Black Friday Market in Beirut. Lebanon wants more people to move away from cash

Lebanon launches plan to promote use of bank cards

Lebanese central bank Banque du Liban announced a new agreement on Thursday that it hopes will result in a rebound in the use of bank cards. As part of the agreement, Mastercard and Visa will lower card fees on transactions, particularly for people with bank accounts based outside Lebanon. In a press release, the bank […]

Visitor numbers to Lebanon for the first 10 months of 2023 were up 21% on 2022 but there is currently 'no significant traffic' from the West

Beirut airport arrivals drop as Westerners stay away

The daily arrival rate at Lebanon’s only functioning international airport is down by 4 percent year on year in the first quarter of this year, according to Marwan Haber, the head of Middle East Airline’s (MEA) commercial division. Speaking at the Horeca hospitality conference in Beirut on Tuesday Haber said 95 percent of arrivals were […]

A closed Bank of Beirut branch in Beirut, Lebanon. Some private banks could be forced into liquidation by the government's debt plan

The banking blame game stifling Lebanon’s IMF deal

Lebanon’s proposed International Monetary Fund deal, agreed two years ago and designed to put the country on the road to recovery, seems no closer to realisation. One of the key stumbling points is reform of the banking sector. The combined liabilities of the country’s banks amount to more than three times the size of Lebanon’s […]

The US interest rate cuts may affect commodity prices but beyond that Lebanon citizens will not see a difference, says one observer

Lebanon needs more than US rate cuts to turn its economy around

Probable US interest rate cuts could help Jordan and Morocco attract additional foreign investments as well as easing their already manageable loan repayment commitments, experts predict, but Lebanon’s financial problems remain so acute that a reduced debt burden will make little difference. US 10-year treasury yields – the most important determinant of government borrowing conditions […]

Lebanon's caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati has called for 'immediate assistance' from UN agencies

Lebanon PM to declare ‘agricultural disaster zone’ in south

Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati is to declare the south of the country an “agricultural disaster zone” as the conflict in Gaza batters Lebanon’s beleaguered economy. Speaking at a cabinet meeting on Thursday, Mikati called for “immediate assistance” from UN agencies and Lebanon’s international partners to help the country overcome the impact of a […]

Nejmeh Square in Beirut. Visitor numbers to Lebanon for the first 10 months of 2023 were up 21% on the previous year

Lebanon reports visitor increase despite border conflict

Visitor numbers to Lebanon increased to their highest levels last year since the 2019 economic crisis, despite conflict on the southern border dampening tourism since October. Figures released by the Ministry for Tourism showed the number of visitors to Lebanon in 2023 reached 1.67 million, a 13.7 percent year-on-year increase. Lebanon registered 1.94 million inbound […]

Beirut port blast 2020

Lebanon unveils plans to rebuild shattered Beirut port

Lebanese companies will lead the multi-million-dollar funding for the rehabilitation of Beirut’s port, which will be based mainly on the revenues that the port has been collecting. Ali Hamieh, the country’s caretaker minister of public works and transport, announced the news on Wednesday. The port was partially destroyed in August 2020 when the detonation of […]

WTO director general Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said Iraq and Lebanon both want to resume talks and the organisation will 'try to go as fast as possible'

Iraq and Lebanon face long wait to join WTO

Iraq and Lebanon have indicated a desire to resume talks aimed at joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), but history suggests the two could be in for a long wait. To join the WTO, a government has to bring its economic and trade policies into line with the organisation’s rules and principles and negotiate with […]

A man pushes a shopping cart near a screen showing the exchange rate of Lebanese pound to U.S. dollars inside a supermarket in Beirut, Lebanon March 9, 2023. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Lebanon’s EDL harnesses the power of ‘dollarisation’

Lebanese citizens will soon be able to pay their electricity bills in US dollars as the unofficial “dollarisation” of the nation’s economy continues. The decision by Électricité du Liban (EDL) to allow customers to choose to pay their bills in USD instead of Lebanese lira was ratified by the electricity provider’s board of governors this […]

Lebanese Finance Minister Youssef Khalil. The IMF said the new exchange rate policy underscored the need to 'restructure the banking sector to restart growth'

Lebanon switches to new exchange rate policy

The Lebanese government is now using a dollar exchange rate closer to that of the parallel market when calculating taxes and fees for other administrative charges. The 2024 budget law, which was passed on January 26, ditches all references to the official LBP15,000 and LBP1,508 rates on which the bulk of government revenue was previously […]

Two men (unrelated to the shooting video) work on an electricity generator in Beirut

Gunfights on the streets in Lebanon’s electricity Wild West

A video is doing the rounds in Lebanon. The clip is not easy to find on social media, but it is being sent from friend to friend – and it’s got people talking since emerging last month. It shows an argument in a Beirut suburb turning ugly when a man pulls a gun on another […]

Lebanese pound

Lebanon passes 2024 budget without crucial reforms

Lebanon’s parliament passed an amended budget for 2024 that experts said neglected to include crucial reforms that would help the country emerge from a financial meltdown that has gutted the public sector for nearly five years. The draft was passed late on Friday after three days of drawn-out disputes, including several heated exchanges in parliament’s […]

Khalaf Al Habtoor's group says it has invested close to $1bn in Lebanon

Khalaf Al Habtoor escalates dispute with Lebanon

Emirati businessman Khalaf Al Habtoor has escalated his feud with the Lebanese authorities by launching an investment treaty dispute against the country. The legal notice of the dispute alleges that Beirut’s treatment of his conglomerate, Al Habtoor Group, breaches the investment treaty between the UAE and Lebanon. Under the 1999 agreement, Lebanon committed to protect […]

Children on a street in Bourj Hammoud, northeast of Beirut. Lebanon has been hit hard by food price inflation

Gaza war proves ‘another large shock’ for fragile Lebanon

Hopes that Lebanon’s economy could register its first annual growth in five years have been dashed by the impact of the Israel-Gaza conflict, according to the World Bank. Its latest Lebanon Economic Monitor said the fighting and fears of an escalation were “another large shock” to the country’s precarious economy. Before the outbreak of violence […]

A tourist enjoys a view of Petra's most elaborate ruin, Al Khazneh (the Treasury), from the mountain above. On Thursday, February 8, 2019, in Petra, Ma'an Governorate, Jordan.

Gaza conflict puts pressure on neighbours’ economies

A prolonged conflict in Gaza and Israel is likely to lead to a significant contraction in GDP and loss of foreign exchange receipts across Middle East and North Africa, according to S&P Global Ratings. The month-long conflict leaves the tourism sectors of Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan “most exposed” due to their geographical proximity to the […]

Person, Human, Pipeline

Lebanon wants Total-led consortium to drill new well

Lebanon wants a consortium led by TotalEnergies to drill another well at offshore Block 9 quickly, after a first well did not find enough natural gas to be commercialised, the country’s energy minister, Walid Fayad, told Reuters. The consortium drilling in Block 9 also includes the Italian energy group Eni and the state-owned QatarEnergy. Fayad, […]

Lebanon lollar fees commission

Lebanon’s new bank rules offer ‘lollar’ accounts respite

The Banque du Liban (BDL), Lebanon’s central bank, has issued a circular limiting fees and commissions that commercial banks can impose on so-called “lollar” accounts. Circular No. 679 prohibits the imposition of commissions that were established after October 31, 2019 on dollar deposits made before September 3, 2019. It also obliges banks to publish their […]

QatarEnergy coalition bids in Lebanon licensing round

A coalition of TotalEnergies, Eni and QatarEnergy applied for the second licensing round to bid on oil and gas blocks 8 and 10 in Lebanese waters, an hour before the deadline on Monday, Lebanon’s energy ministry said. Last month the consortium began drilling an exploratory well in Lebanon’s block 9, one of the blocks falling […]

As part of a $3bn financial support agreement, the IMF urged Egypt to level the playing field between the private and public sectors

Lebanon needs deep reforms on unstable outlook says IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has welcomed new policies enacted by Lebanon’s central bank, but said deep reforms were still necessary as the crisis-stricken country’s “outlook remains difficult and unstable”. Lebanon’s nearly four-year economic meltdown has cost the local currency roughly 98 percent of its value and impoverished thousands, but authorities have been slow to […]