File - Byblos Bank headquarters is seen in Beirut. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
BEIRUT: Byblos Bank/AUB Consumer Confidence Index improved marginally in January and February, picked up pace in March and April, and regressed in May and June 2014.
The Index reached 37.3 points in April 2014, its highest score since September 2012. The Index grew by 10 percent in the first quarter to an average of 31, and rose by another 15 percent to an average of 35.7 in the second quarter of the year.
“The results reflect the Index’s first consecutive quarterly increases since the first and second quarters of 2011. Further, the Index posted a monthly average of 33.4 in the first half of 2014, increasing by 16.5 percent from the second half of 2013,” the report said.
Nassib Ghobril, chief economist and head of the Economic Research & Analysis Department at the Byblos Bank Group, said, “The formation of a new Cabinet in mid-February after more than 10 months of political deadlock and the confidence vote it received in Parliament in March, along with the concrete results of a ‘security plan’ launched across the country in April, were the main factors that affected positively the confidence of Lebanese households during the first half of 2014.”
Ghobril also noted that “the repeated failure of the Lebanese Parliament to elect a president by the May 25 constitutional deadline and the ensuing presidential vacuum, along with security breaches in the Bekaa [Valley] and, particularly, in Beirut in June, reversed the timid improvement in sentiment.”
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