Lebanon’s Central Administration of Statistics (CAS) has recently switched from an annual system to a new quarterly system of national accounts. It stated that the “sources and methods used to compile quarterly estimates of GDP are very similar to those used in the former annual system. The difference is that annual data sources may not be available for some months after the end of the year. Until then, some temporary quarterly indicators or projections are used. When the annual data becomes available, the quarterly estimates are revised to align with the annual ones so that, when the four quarters are added up, they result in the same annual numbers”.
Nominal GDP in 2019 stood at 80.8 trillion LBP ($53.6 billion at the official exchange rate), 2.5% lower than in 2018. In real terms, GDP declined by 6.7% while the GDP deflator rose by 4.5%. As important, real quarterly GDP growth rates compared with the same period in the previous year were -3% for Q1, -7% for Q2, -2% for Q3, and -15% for Q4 2019.
Also published were the sectoral distribution of GDP and the real growth of each in 2019. Construction showed the largest fall, down by 29%. Business services were down by 15%, manufacturing and utilities down by 13%, hotels and restaurants down by 12%, commercial trade and transport down by 11%, and financial services were down by 4%. Only agriculture and real estate showed positive growth with the former rising by 6% and the latter by 3% quarterly .
Change in Gross Domestic Product