A picture taken on June 30, 2018 shows the exterior of the headquarters of the prestigious pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper in the centre of the Lebanese capital Beirut, which shuttered down its offices in its birthplace country as the Saudi-owned publication continued to downsize its operations.  / AFP / ANWAR AMRO
Lebanon's business activity growth declined in June to the slowest level in eight months. AFP

Lebanon's private sector growth at eight-month low in June



Lebanon’s private sector growth dropped to an eight-month low in the second quarter of 2018 as political instability in the country curbed demand, with companies expecting a continued decline in business.

The Blom Lebanon Purchase Managers' Index, an indicator of business health, fell to 46 in June from 46.4 in May, reaching the worst level since October 2017, according to the report. The figure has remained persistently below the 50-plus mark that reflects growth as output and new orders contracted at a faster rate in June.

“Private sector activity continues to deteriorate,” said Marwan Mikhael, head of research at Blominvest Bank.

The country's economy has been battered by political divisions and a six-year war in neighbouring Syria during which an influx of refugees stretched Lebanon's public finances and infrastructure. The nation also has one of the world’s highest ratios of debt to gross domestic product, standing at more than 150 per cent. Last month, the International Monetary Fund urged Lebanon to take immediate action to improve the sustainability of its public debt by increasing value-added tax rates, restraining public wages and gradually eliminating electricity subsidies.

The private sector outlook remains depressed with firms expecting a drop in business during the next 12 months, the report showed.

As business activity contracted and fewer new orders came in, companies slashed jobs and cut back on purchasing in June. The rate of decline in firms’ buying accelerated to the fastest pace since October 2016.

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Average prices of goods and services fell further in June as demand remained subdued. The cut in prices was the fourth in as many months.

Cost pressures on businesses remained subdued amid a fractional increase in the price of purchased items and average salaries were unchanged month-on month, the report said.

Supplier delivery times were improved for the third consecutive month, owing to a lack of demand for materials, according to the report, which is a joint survey by Blominvest  Bank and IHS Markit.

Earlier this month, credit rating agency Moody’s said Lebanese banks' profitability will take a hit in the next 12 to 18 months from subdued business activity, higher provisions costs from low levels in 2017 and higher taxes.

The credit agency said the country's economy grew 1.9 per cent in 2017 and forecast a "modest" rise in GDP growth of 2.5 per cent this year and 3 per cent next year. This outlook is based on expectations of greater economic policy coordination and that the government will resume long-delayed public investment projects.

The rate of economic growth, derived from the PMI, is only 1.3 per cent in the first half of 2018, according to Mr Mikhael.

He called for a quick formation of a new government and the urgent need for economic reform to restore confidence in the economy and attract investors.

RedCrow Intelligence Company Profile

Started: 2016

Founders: Hussein Nasser Eddin, Laila Akel, Tayeb Akel 

Based: Ramallah, Palestine

Sector: Technology, Security

# of staff: 13

Investment: $745,000

Investors: Palestine’s Ibtikar Fund, Abu Dhabi’s Gothams and angel investors

Getting there and where to stay

Etihad Airways operates seasonal flights from Abu Dhabi to Nice Côte d'Azur Airport. Services depart the UAE on Wednesdays and Sundays with outbound flights stopping briefly in Rome, return flights are non-stop. Fares start from Dh3,315, flights operate until September 18, 2022. 

The Radisson Blu Hotel Nice offers a western location right on Promenade des Anglais with rooms overlooking the Bay of Angels. Stays are priced from €101 ($114), including taxes.

Donating your hair

    •    Your hair should be least 30 cms long, as some of the hair is lost during manufacturing of the wigs.
    •    Clean, dry hair in good condition (no split ends) from any gender, and of any natural colour, is required.
    •    Straight, wavy, curly, permed or chemically straightened is permitted.
    •    Dyed hair must be of a natural colour
 

 

New schools in Dubai
Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

Coming soon

Torno Subito by Massimo Bottura

When the W Dubai – The Palm hotel opens at the end of this year, one of the highlights will be Massimo Bottura’s new restaurant, Torno Subito, which promises “to take guests on a journey back to 1960s Italy”. It is the three Michelinstarred chef’s first venture in Dubai and should be every bit as ambitious as you would expect from the man whose restaurant in Italy, Osteria Francescana, was crowned number one in this year’s list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Akira Back Dubai

Another exciting opening at the W Dubai – The Palm hotel is South Korean chef Akira Back’s new restaurant, which will continue to showcase some of the finest Asian food in the world. Back, whose Seoul restaurant, Dosa, won a Michelin star last year, describes his menu as,  “an innovative Japanese cuisine prepared with a Korean accent”.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

The highly experimental chef, whose dishes are as much about spectacle as taste, opens his first restaurant in Dubai next year. Housed at The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal will feature contemporary twists on recipes that date back to the 1300s, including goats’ milk cheesecake. Always remember with a Blumenthal dish: nothing is quite as it seems. 

'Will of the People'

Artist: Muse
Label: Warner
Rating: 2.5/5

Courses at Istituto Marangoni, Dubai

Undergraduate courses
Interior Design; Product Design; Visual Design; Fashion Design & Accessories; Fashion Styling & Creative Direction; Fashion Business; Foundation in Fashion; Foundation in Design
Professional courses
Fashion e-Commerce & Digital Marketing; Fashion Entrepreneurship; Fashion Luxury Retail and Visual Merchandising
Short courses
Fashion design; Fashion Image & Styling; Fashion Trend Forecasting; Interior Design; Digital Art in Fashion
More information is at www.istitutomarangoni.com

The Details

Kabir Singh

Produced by: Cinestaan Studios, T-Series

Directed by: Sandeep Reddy Vanga

Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Kiara Advani, Suresh Oberoi, Soham Majumdar, Arjun Pahwa

Rating: 2.5/5 

I Care A Lot

Directed by: J Blakeson

Starring: Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage

3/5 stars

Porsche Macan T: The Specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo 

Power: 265hp from 5,000-6,500rpm 

Torque: 400Nm from 1,800-4,500rpm 

Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto 

Speed: 0-100kph in 6.2sec 

Top speed: 232kph 

Fuel consumption: 10.7L/100km 

On sale: May or June 

Price: From Dh259,900  

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Lamsa

Founder: Badr Ward

Launched: 2014

Employees: 60

Based: Abu Dhabi

Sector: EdTech

Funding to date: $15 million

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

Dhadak

Director: Shashank Khaitan

Starring: Janhvi Kapoor, Ishaan Khattar, Ashutosh Rana

Stars: 3

FIGHT CARD

Sara El Bakkali v Anisha Kadka (Lightweight, female)
Mohammed Adil Al Debi v Moaz Abdelgawad (Bantamweight)
Amir Boureslan v Mahmoud Zanouny (Welterweight)
Abrorbek Madaminbekov v Mohammed Al Katheeri (Featherweight)
Ibrahem Bilal v Emad Arafa (Super featherweight)
Ahmed Abdolaziz v Imad Essassi (Middleweight)
Milena Martinou v Ilham Bourakkadi (Bantamweight, female)
Noureddine El Agouti v Mohamed Mardi (Welterweight)
Nabil Ouach v Ymad Atrous (Middleweight)
Nouredin Samir v Zainalabid Dadachev (Lightweight)
Marlon Ribeiro v Mehdi Oubahammou (Welterweight)
Brad Stanton v Mohamed El Boukhari (Super welterweight

Is it worth it? We put cheesecake frap to the test.

The verdict from the nutritionists is damning. But does a cheesecake frappuccino taste good enough to merit the indulgence?

My advice is to only go there if you have unusually sweet tooth. I like my puddings, but this was a bit much even for me. The first hit is a winner, but it's downhill, slowly, from there. Each sip is a little less satisfying than the last, and maybe it was just all that sugar, but it isn't long before the rush is replaced by a creeping remorse. And half of the thing is still left.

The caramel version is far superior to the blueberry, too. If someone put a full caramel cheesecake through a liquidiser and scooped out the contents, it would probably taste something like this. Blueberry, on the other hand, has more of an artificial taste. It's like someone has tried to invent this drink in a lab, and while early results were promising, they're still in the testing phase. It isn't terrible, but something isn't quite right either.

So if you want an experience, go for a small, and opt for the caramel. But if you want a cheesecake, it's probably more satisfying, and not quite as unhealthy, to just order the real thing.

 

 

THE SPECS

Cadillac XT6 2020 Premium Luxury

Engine:  3.6L V-6

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 310hp

Torque: 367Nm

Price: Dh280,000

SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre 4-cylinder
Power: 101hp
Torque: 135Nm
Transmission: Six-speed auto
Price: From Dh79,900
On sale: Now

Top 10 most competitive economies

1. Singapore
2. Switzerland
3. Denmark
4. Ireland
5. Hong Kong
6. Sweden
7. UAE
8. Taiwan
9. Netherlands
10. Norway

Company profile

Name: Fruitful Day

Founders: Marie-Christine Luijckx, Lyla Dalal AlRawi, Lindsey Fournie

Based: Dubai, UAE

Founded: 2015

Number of employees: 30

Sector: F&B

Funding so far: Dh3 million

Future funding plans: None at present

Future markets: Saudi Arabia, potentially Kuwait and other GCC countries

THE SPECS

Engine: 4.4-litre V8

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 523hp

Torque: 750Nm

Price: Dh469,000

Coming 2 America

Directed by: Craig Brewer

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, Jermaine Fowler, Leslie Jones

3/5 stars

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Mozn

Started: 2017

Founders: Mohammed Alhussein, Khaled Al Ghoneim, Abdullah Alsaeed and Malik Alyousef

Based: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Industry: FinTech

Funding: $10 million

Investors: Raed Ventures, Shorooq Partners, VentureSouq, Sukna Ventures and others

The Two Popes

Director: Fernando Meirelles

Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Pryce 

Four out of five stars


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