Friday, December 26, 2008

Crisis? What crisis?

"Inward remittances into Lebanon from their working citizens reached $6 billion in 2008, up from $5.5 billion in 2007, making Lebanon the 18th largest recipient of remittances according to the World Bank. The remittances made up 24.4% of GDP in 2007, the fifth highest in the world behind Honduras, Lesotho, Moldova, and Tajikistan. A former adviser to Prime Minister Rafiq Harriri told me that despite Lebanon's conservative banking policies, as jobs are cut in the Gulf, Lebanese who return home, will be returning with less money and fewer job opportunities in Lebanon.

If oil prices remain as low as they are, Gulf Cooperation Council's economies will weaken and the World Bank estimates remittances from the region back to Lebanon could fall by 9% in 2009 compared to the recently rise of almost 40% in 2008."

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