According to data retrieved from the Lebanese Customs, Lebanon’s trade deficit increased by 14.64% from $5.82B by May 2015 to $6.67B by May 2016. Accordingly, exports fell by a yearly 6.39% to $1.19B while imports increased by an annual 10.87% to $7.86B. The rise in the value of imports was due to the increase in imported volume of goods from 6.16M tons by May 2015 to 7.68M by May 2016. Also, the drop in exports was almost entirely accounted for by a drop in volume from 0.81M tons by May 2015 to 0.64M by May 2016, this drop can be linked to the slow economic activity in the GCC countries and the continuing turmoil in Syria.
Pearls, precious stones and metals accounted for 17.58% of exports, followed closely by 16.41% for prepared foodstuffs, beverages and tobacco and by 14.01% for machinery and electrical instruments.
The value of exports in all of the top classified categories witnessed yearly changes:
- Exports of pearls, precious stones and metals grew by 2.86% year-on-year (y-o-y) to $209.28M by May 2016
- Exports of prepared foodstuffs, beverages and tobacco dropped by 5.05% y-o-y to $195.29M by May 2016 compared to $205.67M by May 2015.
- Exports of machinery and electrical instruments fell by 5.15% y-o-y to $166.67M by May 2016
As for imports, the top 3 values are registered by mineral products with 24.35% followed by shares of 11.02% for products of the chemical or allied industries and 9.65% for machinery and electrical instruments.
- Imports of mineral products grew by a significant 61.13% to $1.91B by May 2016
- Imports of products of the chemical and allied industries increased by a yearly 5.98% to 866.94M
- Imports of machinery and electrical instruments slid by 9.37% yearly to $758.93M
The top import destinations for the first five months of the year were China, Italy, USA, Holland, and Germany with respective shares of 10.69%, 7.62%, 7.42%, 6.08% and 5.8%.
The top export destinations for the same period were South Africa, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Syria and Iraq with respective shares of 12.51%, 11.17%, 9.47%, 6.38% and 6.15%.
Trade Deficit by May 2016 (in $B)
Source: Lebanese Customs