By July 2020, Lebanon’s trade deficit totaled $4.14B, narrowing from the $10.24B registered in the same period last year. In fact, total imported goods retreated by 50.3% year-on-year (YOY) to $6.13B by July 2020. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s total exports declined by 5.2% YOY to $1.99B by July 2020. Lebanon is a country traditionally open to trade, however, the ongoing economic slowdown, the devaluation of the Lebanese currency and the recent Covid-19 outbreak have exerted pressure on trade, resulting in spending reduction and inability to import raw materials.
In term of value, the “Mineral products” grasped the highest share of total imported goods with a stake of 28.91%. “Products of the chemical or allied industries” ranked second, composing 15.36% of the total Imports, while “Vegetable Products” and “Prepared foodstuffs; beverages, tobbaco” grasped the respective shares of 7.76% and 7.59%, respectively.
In details, Lebanon imported $1.77B worth of “Mineral Products”, compared to a value of $4.27B 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 7,675,007 tons by July 2019 to reach 4,016,134 tons by July 2020.
In turn, the values of “Products of the chemical or allied industries”, “Vegetable Products” and “Prepared foodstuffs; beverages, tobacco” recorded yearly drops of 24.54%, 23.69% and 38.44% to settle at $940.93M, $475.36M and $464.83M, respectively.
The top three import sources by July 2020 were Greece, Italy and US grasping the respective shares of 8.05%, 7.03% and 7.2% 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 40.07% of the total. “Prepared foodstuffs, beverages & tobacco” and “Machinery, electrical instruments” followed, with each grasping a share of 11.46% and 9.30%, respectively, of the total.
In detail, the value of “Pearls, precious stones and metals” climbed yearly by 8.81% to $795.87M by July 2020. Meanwhile, the value of “Prepared foodstuffs, beverages & tobacco” observed an uptick of 0.46% to reach $227.54M while “Machinery, electrical instruments”, witnessed a yearly decline of 13.88% to reach $184.63M by July 2020.
By July, the top three export destinations were Switzerland, UAE and KSA with the respective shares of 33.43%, 9.94% and 6.29%.
As importantly, the volume of imports is expected to further decline in the upcoming months in case political instability resides and promised reforms by the government do not materialize and especially if the BDL stops the support of essential goods including basic food, medicines and fuel.
Trade Deficit By July 2020 ($B)