Lebanon’s trade deficit for the first 5 months of 2019 stood at $7.32B, widening from $6.64B in in the same period last week, on the back of total imports increasing by an annual 10.02% to $8.76B, while total exports grew by a yearly 9.12% to $1.45B.
In term of value, “Mineral products” were the leading imports to Lebanon by May 2019, grasping a 35.06% stake of total imported goods. “Products of the chemical or allied industries” followed, constituting 9.76% of the total, while “machinery and electrical instruments” grasped 8.57% of the total.
In details, Lebanon imported $3.07B worth of “Mineral Products”, compared to a value of 1.37B in the same period last year, on the back of a 107.37% yearly rise in their imported volume to reach 5.82tons by May 2019. The increase in volume could be attributed first to the Lebanese Cabinet decision to impose a 2% tax on imported goods noting that on July 19, Lebanon’s parliament passed the 2019 state budget and imposed a 3% duty on all imports that are subject to the value-added tax, except for fuel, raw material and industrial equipment. Moreover, part of the imported “Mineral Product” might be smuggled to Syria amid the fuel crisis.
Meanwhile, the value of “chemical or allied industries” recorded a decrease of 9.32% y-o-y to settle at $854.88M and that of “machinery and electrical instruments” also declined by 17.25% over the same period to $750.71M.
In terms of top trade partners, Lebanon primarily imported from US, China, and Russia with shares of 8.95%, 8.82% and 7.42%, respectively, by May 2019.
As for exports, the top category of products exported from Lebanon were “pearls, precious stones and metals”, which grasped a share of 30.01% of total exports, followed by a share of 12.23% for “prepared foodstuffs, beverage, and tobacco” and 10.95% for “Machinery; electrical instruments “over the same period.
In details, the value of “pearls, precious stones, & metals” surged by 26.14% by May 2019 to reach $433.88M. As for the value of “Prepared foodstuffs; beverages, tobacco” , it declined by 3.33% y-o-y to $176.82M. Meanwhile, the value of “Machinery; electrical instruments” recorded an important increase of 23.82% year-on-year to $158.29M.
By May 2019, Switzerland followed by the UAE and Syria were Lebanon’s top three export destinations, respectively constituting 14.64%, 13.99%, and 7.12% of total exports.
Trade Deficit by May ($B)
Source: Lebanese Customs