In the first 5 months of 2020, Lebanon’s trade deficit totaled $3B, narrowing from the $7.31B registered in the same period last year. In fact, total imported goods retreated by 50.4% year-on-year (YOY) to $4.35B by May 2020. This may be attributed to the national foreign currency shortage and currency deterioration, as the country grapples with an ongoing economic and financial crisis. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s total exports declined 7.6% YOY to $1.33B by May 2020.
In term of value, the “Mineral products” grasped the lion’s share of total imported goods with a stake of 29.87%. “Products of the chemical or allied industries” ranked second, composing 14.86% of the total while “Vegetable Products” and “Pearls, precious stones and metals” grasped the respective shares of 8.17% and 7.48%, respectively.
In details, Lebanon imported $1.3B worth of “Mineral Products”, compared to a value of $3B in the same period last year. In fact, the net weight of imported “mineral fuels, oils and their products” decreased since last year and witnessed a yearly drop from 5,483,967 tons by May 2019 to reach 2,783,909 tons by May 2020. Worth mentioning that the volume of mineral products is expected to decrease further in the upcoming months especially if the central bank stops covering the import of essential goods at the official exchange rate.
In turn, the values of “Products of the chemical or allied industries”, “Vegetable Products” and “Pearls, precious stones and metals “recorded yearly drops of 24.42%, 13.43% and 25.86% to settle at $646.13M , $325.12M and $355.25M, respectively.
By May, the top three import sources were Greece, Turkey and Italy grasping the respective shares of 8.04%, 6.79% and 6.71% 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 39% of the total. “Prepared foodstuffs, beverages & tobacco” and “Machinery, electrical instruments” followed, with each grasping a share of 11.65% and 9.60%, respectively, of the total.
In detail, the value of “Pearls, precious stones and metals” climbed yearly by 20% to $520.77M by May 2020. Meanwhile, the value of “Prepared foodstuffs, beverages & tobacco” and “Base metals &articles of base metal”, witnessed a yearly declines of 26.36% and 19.06% to reach $155.54M and $128.12M, respectively by May 2020.
The top three export destinations by May 2020 were Switzerland, UAE and KSA with the respective shares of 30.44%, 11.91% and 6.57%.
Trade Deficit by May ($B)
Source: Lebanese Customs