By October 2020, Lebanon’s trade deficit totaled $6.09B, narrowing from the $13.51B registered in the same period last year. In fact, total imported goods retreated by 45.4% year-on-years (YOY) to $9.07B in October 2020. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s total exports declined by 3.9% YOY to $2.98B during the same period. Due to the country’s economic and financial crisis, in addition to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the instability in the region, the country’s trade balance is structurally in deficit, a trend which will worsen in the upcoming months.
In term of value, the “Mineral products” grasped the highest share of total imported goods with a stake of 29.37%. “Products of the chemical or allied industries” ranked second, composing 14.96% of the total imports, while “Machinery, electrical instruments” and “Pearls, Precious stones and metals” grasped the respective shares of 8.07% and 7.83%.
In details, Lebanon imported $2.66B worth of “Mineral Products”, compared to a value of $5.55B 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 9,945,382 tons in October 2019 to reach 6,410,925 tons in October 2020.
In turn, the values of “Products of the chemical or allied industries”, “Vegetable Products” and “Prepared foodstuffs; beverages, tobacco” recorded yearly drops of 20.59%, 19.26% and 40.98% to settle at $1.36B, $636.8M and $620.6M, respectively. It is worth noting, that the values of “Vehicles, aircraft, vessels, transport equipment” recorded yearly drop of 66.64% to settle at $350.3M.
The top three import sources by October 2020 were US, Greece, and Turkey grasping the respective shares of 8.16%, 7.95% and 6.54% 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 40.92% of the total. Moreover, “Prepared foodstuffs, beverages & tobacco” and “Machinery, electrical instruments” each grasped a share of 10.44% and 8.72%, respectively, of the total.
In detail, the value of “Pearls, precious stones and metals” decreased yearly by 0.79% to $1.22B by October 2020. Meanwhile, the value of “Prepared foodstuffs, beverages & tobacco” observed an uptick of 2.57% to reach $311.45M while “Machinery, electrical instruments”, witnessed a yearly decline of 18.18% to reach $260.2M by October 2020.
In the first 10 month of 2020, the top three export destinations were Switzerland, UAE and KSA with the respective shares of 32.72%, 11.67% and 5.92%.
As a matter of fact, the volume of imports is expected to further decline in the upcoming months due to foreign currency shortages, where BDL’s governor had announced that the support of the essential goods will not last for a long time. In turn, he encouraged to speed up the formation of new cabinet in order to unlock the international aids and implement the needed recovery plan.
Trade Deficit by October 2020 ($B)
Source: Customs Administration, BLOMINVEST