Over the course of 2013, Lebanon not only had to face its own set of domestic challenges but also suffered the spillovers from war-ridden Syria. These hurdles were priced in Lebanese equities, which registered only marginal and short-lived upturns in times of “relative stability”.
Internationally, stock markets in the US and Europe have had a good year. The S&P 500 ended 2013 at 1,848.36 points, a 30% annual jump, the largest in 16 years. The Euro Stoxx 50 registered an 18% yearly gain, closing at 3,109 points. In the US, the economy shook off the strains imposed by the fiscal tightening early in the year and created jobs, elements which allowed the Fed to announce a $10B monthly tapering in its asset purchases as of January. In Europe, although the exit from the recession came in late during the month of August, the European Central Bank (ECB) never wavered on its promise to boost the economy through monetary stimulus. The ECB did in fact cut its refinancing rate by 25 basis points to a record low of 0.25% in November in order to ensure the banks’ liquidity.
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