Lebanon’s stock market to reopen after deadly Beirut blast as protests continue

Lebanese people carry the national flag as they drive past the blast site in the capital Beirut on August 8, 2020. (File photo: AFP)

Lebanon’s stock market is due to open Monday for the first time since the Beirut port explosion on August 4 as anti-government protests gather strength.

The stock market has been closed since the blast that killed more than 150 people and injured over 6,000. Adding to uncertainty is political turmoil with demonstrators managing to gain entry to several ministries as well as the Association of Banks in Beirut on Saturday.

Leaders of more than two dozen countries on Sunday pledged almost $300 million in emergency relief to Lebanon with more aid dependent on political reform.

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As markets reopen, investors will be focusing on Solidere, the real-estate company that rebuilt part of Beirut after the civil war that ended in 1990. The shares, which trade in US dollars, have jumped since last year as they became a hedge against surging inflation and the sliding Lebanese pound.

The stock is up 144 percent since the start of October, when protests in the city escalated, compared with a drop of 24 percent for the Blom Index. The Lebanese bourse’s market capitalization is about $5.4 billion, similar in size to the markets of Mauritius and Malta, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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Last Update: Monday, 10 August 2020 KSA 12:17 - GMT 09:17
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