Lebanon’s trade deficit narrowed in 2019 to reach $15.50B, down by 8.95% compared to the same period in 2018. The total value of imports lost an annual 3.70% to stand at $19.24B. Also, the value of exports rose by 26.57%to stand at $3.74B in Q4 2019.
In term of value, “Mineral products” were the leading imports to Lebanon in 2019, grasping a 34.35% stake of total imported goods. “Products of the chemical or allied industries” followed, constituting 10.35% of the total, while “machinery and electrical instruments” grasped 8.66% of the total.
In details, Lebanon imported $6.61B worth of “Mineral Products”, compared to a value of 4.17B in the same period last year and increasing by 58.55%. In fact, the net weight of imported “mineral fuels, oils and their products” witnessed a yearly rise from 6,560,952 tons in 2018 to reach 11,795,218tons in 2019.Worth noting that “Mineral products “is the only category to witness an increase in its imported value.
Meanwhile, the value of “chemical or allied industries” recorded a decrease of 10% y-o-y to settle at $22B and that of “machinery and electrical instruments” also declined by 28.27% over the same period to $1.66B.
In terms of top trade partners, Lebanon primarily imported from US, China, and Greece with shares of 8.86%, 8.45% and 7.28%, respectively in 2019.
As for exports, the top category of products exported from Lebanon were “pearls, precious stones and metals”, which grasped a share of 38.93% of total exports, followed by a share of 10.21% for “Machinery;electrical instruments “and 9.94% for “Prepared foodstuffs; beverages, tobacco” over the same period.
In details, the value of “pearls, precious stones, & metals” surged from 648M by December 2018 to reach $1.45B by December 2019. As for the value of “Machinery;electrical instruments”, it recorded an increase of 18.64% year-on-year to $381.57M. Meanwhile, the value of “Prepared foodstuffs; beverages, tobbaco”, declined by 2.91% y-o-y to $371.59M.
In 2019, Switzerland followed by the UAE and Saudi Arabia were Lebanon’s top three export destinations, respectively constituting 28.46%, 11.75%, and 6.59% of total exports.
Worth mentioning that during the month of December alone, total deficit amounted to $1B which is 22.76% lower when compared to the same month last year. This can be related to the shortage of foreign currency and the different restrictions on transactions imposed by local bank in 2019. In fact, the central bank has been covering imports of essential goods, including fuel, wheat and medicine.
Yearly Evolution of the Trade Deficit by December