Despite the fact that Lebanon’s economy is in ruins, Beirut’s stock market is about to reopen. It shut just over two weeks ago with share prices tumbling as the war between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas started. Some traders are optimistic and said that the market will pick up when the bombing stops. One stock market worker told Euronews it will initially open for just two hours a day, rather than the usual three and shares will be suspended if they rise or fall by more than 5%. Economists say it will be difficult to restore investor confidence.
Lebanon’s civil war left the economy extremely fragile; GDP last year was 18.8 billion euros and debt 27.4 billion. With so much infrastructure destroyed, the main industries – banking, tourism and growing and processing food – will take years to build back up again. Lebanon has also lost human resources. It did have up to one million foreign workers. Those who could have fled and will be reluctant to return.