According to the Lebanese Customs, Lebanon’s trade deficit rose by 6.97% from $8.54B by July 2015 to $9.13B by July 2016. As such, due to the political turmoil in Lebanon and its neighboring countries, exports dropped by a yearly 3.35% to $1.71B, while imports grew 5.19% y-o-y to $10.84B. This incline in the value of imports can be attributed to the increase in imported volume of goods to 10.37M tons by July 2016, compared to 8.82M tons in the same time last year. Also, the drop in exports was accounted for by a drop in volume from 1.17M tons by July 2015 to 0.91M by July 2016.
When it comes to imports, mineral products (21.24% of total import value) saw rising value and volume, noting that oil prices averaged lower in Jan-July 2016, when compared to the previous year. In details, imports of mineral products increased 39.24% y-o-y, in terms of volume, to reach 5.15M tons by July 2016. Accordingly, value of total imported mineral products increased 33.43% y-o-y to $2.30B. Moreover, products of the chemical or allied industries, which registered 11.06% of the total value of imported goods rose by a yearly 3.38% to $1.20B. As for machinery and electrical instruments, they grasped a share of 10.07% of the total value and fell by 10.52% from July 2015 to stand at $1.09B by July 2016.
The top import destinations for the first seven months of the year were China, Italy, USA, Germany, and Greece with respective shares of 11.29%, 7.65%, 6.90%, 6.06% and 5.02% of the total value.
As for exports and with gold prices inching up this year and given the robustness of the Lebanese jewelry sector, “pearls, precious stones and metals” products maintained the highest share of exported goods and increased by 50.90% y-o-y to $409.10M during the first 7 months of 2016. As for prepared foodstuffs, beverages and tobacco, they comprised 15.39% of exported goods’ value amounting to $267.47M by July 2016, compared to $289.89M by July 2015. Moreover, exports of machinery and electrical instruments, that take up to 12.60% of the total exports, fell by 16.15% y-o-y to $215.65M by July 2016.
The top export destinations for the same period were South Africa, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Syria and Iraq with respective shares of 18.82%, 10.12%, 8.65%, 6.10% and 5.83% of the total value.
Trade Deficit by July 2016 (in $B)
Source: Lebanese Customs