President's Letter - 2018

Dear ACI friends and colleagues,

Publilius Syrus, a roman poet, once said: “The sweetest pleasure arises from difficulties overcome.”

Difficulties are part of everyday life; it depends on us if we can turn them into sweet pleasures.

The rules of the game have changed this year all over the world. After almost a decade of easy money, we are witnessing a rise in interest rates in North America and probably soon in Europe. Liquidity is starting to dry up, stock markets around the world are jittery; the VIX index hit new highs last quarter and may continue its dizzying swings in the foreseeable future.

Nearer to us, oil prices have stabilized off the lower levels reached earlier but the Gulf economies are adapting to the new price levels with taxes and cuts in spending.

In Lebanon too, we witnessed lately a dramatic rise in interest rates following the political crisis last year.

All this will have a negative repercussion on the economic situation in our country.

Over the years, we have relied on the wisdom and the ingenuity of our Central Bank Governor to pull us out of difficult situations and we should not expect less from him in the future. Yet, our politicians should work diligently to put an end to the “let go” and “que sera sera” mentality. An end to corruption and partisanship should be high on the agenda together with a more responsible fiscal policy.

New challenges are awaiting us, whether on the fiscal front with more taxes, or the financial cost of the increased regulatory requirements. All these will have a direct impact on our profitability. So let us roll up our sleeves and get down to hard work.

On our Association level, this year the ACI Executive Committee is planning more educational and social activities, and by the time you receive this directory we would have organized a number of seminars and social events.

In the end, let us not forget that our country is like the Phoenix who always rises to the challenges; as a matter of fact, we faced much more difficult times in the past and came out standing. After all, we still have abundant natural resources in brainpower.

Your colleague
Nakhlé Khoneisser
President, ACI Lebanon