Lebanon’s trade deficit declined by 18.36% year-on-year (y-o-y) by October, to $11.97B, caused by the 19.13% decrease in overall imports, surpassing the 10.66% decline in total exports. The decrease in exports and imports can be attributed to the bearish trends of both, the Euro and oil prices.
Total imports, in the first 10 months of 2015, amounted to $14.46 compared to $17.45B during the same period last year.
In more details, the three major product categories that were imported to Lebanon by October were mineral products (16.7% share of total imports), “machinery and electrical instruments” (11.83% share of total imports) and “products of the chemical or allied industries” (11.18% share of total imports). Mineral product imports posted a substantial drop of 43.86% year-on-year (y-o-y), to $2.42B, by October .This decline comes from the decline in oil prices as the demand for this essential commodity is inelastic.
Similarly, the value of “machinery and electrical instruments” imported and that of “products of the chemical or allied industries” went down by 6.92% and 4.52% y-o-y by October to $1.71B and $1.62B, respectively.
Notably, the three major countries that Lebanon imported goods from were China, Italy and Germany with respective weights of 12.05%, 7.41% and 6.76%.
Similarly, total exports fell yearly from $2.79B by October 2014 to $2.49B this year.
Specifically, the value of exported “prepared foodstuffs, beverages, and tobacco” (16.15% share of total exports) experienced a yearly contraction of 5.27% to $402.84M in the first 10 months of 2015, however, the volume edged up by 14.21% during the same period. The decline in prices may be aligning with European prices, especially following the Euro depreciation in addition to the drop in costs due to the decline in raw material prices and their impact on input prices.
Furthermore, exported “pearls, precious stones, and metals” and “machinery and electrical instruments”, constituting respective shares of 15.20% and 13.77% of total exports, went down by 21.34% and 7.55% y-o-y by October to $379.01M and $343.38M, respectively. The volume of “pearls, precious stones, and metals” dropped 26.76% y-o-y and that of “machinery and electrical instruments” declined by 18.05%.
In terms of the major destinations of the Lebanese exports, Saudi Arabia came first with a 12.08% share, followed by UAE and Iraq with respective shares of 10.58% and 7.53%.
In October alone, trade deficit narrowed from $1.44B in 2014 to $1.21M in 2015, as imports and exports fell by 12.19% and 6.64%, respectively.
Lebanon Imports/Exports by October (in $B)