Beirut Stock Exchange

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Beirut Stock Exchange
Founded 1920
Headquarters Beirut, Lebanon
Products Public trading of equities, equity funds and eurobonds

The Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE) is one of the oldest in the Middle East, although trading was suspended for 13 years during Lebanon's recent civil wars and political turmoil. Since re-opening in the mid-1990s the BSE has achieved remarkable growth in both market capitalization and trading volume but the 2008 financial crisis may have slowed down local equities trading.


The BSE was launched in 1920 and initially traded gold and forex before branching out into the shares of locally-mandated French companies that were also listed on the Bourse de Paris. Trading continued growing until the mid-1970s, when the equities market slumped after the onset of Lebanon's sectarian civil war.[1] The BSE shut down completely in 1983 and reopened in 1996 with a new system of electronic trading in place, which was later updated to the continuous-trading NSC-UNIX-EURONEXT electronic brokerage system.

The Beirut Stock Exchange today is governed by a committee of ten members, including the BSE's chairman, vice-chairman and members appointed by the Ministry of Finance from among bankers, brokers, listed companies and the ministry. The BSE's total market capitalization is currently around US$9.4 billion and the exchange presently lists 24 shares - most of which are banks - plus two funds and 21 eurobond issues.[2] However, recent reports indicate that although Lebanon's banking sector largely survived the 2008 gobal financial crisis, the BSE's market capitalization fell 30% in the year to April 2009.[3]

Latest news[edit]

Shares in the the BSE-listed family company of new Lebanese prime minister Saad al-Hariri soared 15% in a day following the declared victory June 8 of a Hariri-led coalition in Lebanese elections held several days earlier.[4] Property developer Soldiere, founded in 1994 by Hariri's father and former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, surged 15% on the BSE in heavy trading June 8 to a closing price of $23.01 for A-shares and B-shares. The BSE itself also rallied on news that Hariri's U.S.-backed coalition had been declared victor.