The Beirut Stock Exchange (BSE) is the second oldest stock market in the region. It was first established in 1920, by a decree of the French Commissioner. Initially, trading was restricted to gold and foreign currencies. In the early 30s, trading was expanded to include shares of private companies set up under the French mandate to operate and manage some public services and sectors. Some of these corporate securities and shares were listed on both the BSE and the Bourse de Paris at the same time.
In 1975, security turmoil in Lebanon caused the trading activity in the BSE to decrease and the exchange was halted in 1983. The suspension remained until January 22, 1996, when the BSE relaunched trading activity.