Lebanon’s trade deficit for the first three months of 2019 stood at $4.09B, widening from $3.99B in Q1 2018, on the back of total imports increasing by an annual 2.9% to $4.95B, while total exports grew by a yearly 5.06% to $855.8M.
In term of value, “Mineral products” were the leading imports to Lebanon in Q1 2019, grasping a 32.34% stake of total imported goods. “Products of the chemical or allied industries” followed, constituting 10.48% of the total, while “machinery and electrical instruments” grasped 9.31% of the total.
In details, Lebanon imported $1.6B worth of “Mineral Products”, up by 86.88% y-o-y on the back of a 61.27% yearly rise in their imported volume by March 2019. The increase in volume could be attributed to the Lebanese Cabinet decision to impose a 2% tax on imported goods which excludes medicine, environment-friendly cars and primary equipment for agriculture and industry.
Meanwhile, the value of “chemical or allied industries” recorded an decrease of 7.78% y-o-y to settle at $518.74M and that of “machinery and electrical instruments” also declined by 15.70% over the same period to $460.87M.
In terms of top trade partners, Lebanon primarily imported from Russia, Kuwait, and China with shares of 20.58%, 13.82% and 5.49%, respectively, in the month of March 2019.
As for exports, the top category of products exported from Lebanon were “pearls, precious stones and metals”, which grasped a share of 32.18% of total exports, followed by a share of 12.07% for “prepared foodstuffs, beverage, and tobacco” and 12.07% for “Machinery; electrical instruments “over the same period.
In details, the value of “pearls, precious stones, & metals” surged by 15.99% in Q1 2019 to reach $275.44M. As for the value of “Prepared foodstuffs; beverages, tobacco” , it declined by 3.45% y-o-y to $103.28M. Meanwhile, the value of “Machinery; electrical instruments” recorded an important increase of a yearly 36.62% to $99.15M.
In March 2018, the UAE, followed by Switzerland and Syria were Lebanon’s top three export destinations, respectively constituting 11.99%, 10.67%, and 6.71% of total exports.
Trade Deficit by March ($B)
Source: Lebanese Customs