During the first 2 months of 2020, Lebanon’s trade deficit totaled $1.43B, narrowing from the $2.23B registered in the same period last year. In fact, total imported goods retreated by 24% year-on-year (YOY) to $2.10B by February 2020. This may be attributed to the national foreign currency shortage and negative growth, as the country grapples with an ongoing economic and financial crisis while the BDL covers the imports of essential goods. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s total exports added 26.2% YOY to $676.34M by February 2020.
In term of value, the “Mineral products” grasped the lion’s share of total imported goods with a stake of 35.64%. “Products of the chemical or allied industries” ranked second, composing 12.17% of the total while “Pearls, precious stones and metals” and “Vegetable Products” grasped the respective shares of 9.91% and 7%, respectively.
In details, Lebanon imported $750.19M worth of “Mineral Products”, compared to a value of $508.50M in the same period last year. In fact, the net weight of imported “mineral fuels, oils and their products” is still increasing since last year and witnessed a yearly rise from 920,952 tons by February 2019 to reach 1,300,706 tons by February 2020. In fact, the increase in volume is mainly due to the smuggling to neighboring countries. Meanwhile, the average price of international oil declined yearly by 3.97% to $59.77/barrel. In turn, the values of “Products of the chemical or allied industries” and “Vegetable Products” recorded yearly drops of 23.90% and 26.90% to settle at $256M and $147.30M respectively. However, the value of “Pearls, precious stones and metals “witnessed a yearly increase by 27.66% to settle at $208.48M by February 2020.
By February, the top three import sources were Greece, Turkey and Italy grasping the respective shares of 9.47%, 8.71% and 8.47% of the total value of imports.
On the Exports front, Lebanon’s top exported products were “Pearls, precious stones and metals” grasping a share of 46.72% of the total. “Prepared foodstuffs, beverages & tobacco” and “Base metals &articles of base metal” followed, with each grasping a share of 9.77% and 8.91%, respectively, of the total.
In detail, the value of “Pearls, precious stones and metals” climbed yearly by 59.12% to $315.96M by February 2020. By the same token, the value of “Prepared foodstuffs, beverages & tobacco” and “Base metals &articles of base metal” added an annual increase of 2.23% and 52.10% to $66M and $60.26M, respectively.
The top three export destinations by February 2020 were Switzerland, UAE and KSA with the respective shares of 32.69%, 16.86% and 6.36%.
Trade Deficit by February ($B)
Source: Lebanese Customs