Lebanon’s trade deficit plunged by 30.03% year-on-year (y-o-y) by February 2015 to stand at $2.17B due to a 26.18% decrease in overall imports outpacing the 2.09% decline in total exports.
Total imports, in the first two months of the year, summed up to $2.66B compared to $3.60B during the same period last year.
In more details, the three major product categories that were imported to Lebanon by February were mineral products (18.81% share of total imports), “products of the chemical or allied industries” (11.81% share of total imports) and “machinery and electrical instruments (10.50% share of total imports). The change in imported mineral products, on a cumulative year-on-year basis, displayed a huge drop of 53.99% from February 2014. The nose dive in mineral imports goes hand in hand with the approximate 60% decrease in the price of international oil since the mid of last year. In addition, “products of the chemical or allied industries” and “machinery and electrical instruments” downturned by an annual 11.81% and 10.50%, respectively. Notably, the three major countries that Lebanon imports goods from were China, Russia and Germany with corresponding weights 13.14%, 6.715 and 5.81%.
Similarly, total exports fell yearly by 2.09% to $486.38M by February 2014 despite the 17.68% increase in volume of overall exports to 325 tons.
Specifically, “pearls, precious stones, and metals”, constituting 16.94% of total exports, went down by 9.52% y-o-y due to the average 6.30% fall of international gold quote to 1,166.49 $/ounce. Furthermore, exported “prepared foodstuffs, beverages, and tobacco” (15.26% share of total exports) experienced a yearly detraction of 12.12% by February, despite the 39.03% increase in exported volume to 50 tons. It seems that the drop in the prices of fast moving consumer goods is moving with the trend of overall falling commodity prices. “Machinery and electrical instruments” (12.31% share of total exports) undergone a 4.37% shrinkage in the value of exports due to the rise in the prices as the volume slumped by 31.44%. In terms of the major destinations of the Lebanese exports, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Syria grasped respective weights of 12.33%, 11.16% and 7.75%.
On a monthly basis, total exports dropped by 6.57% from February 2014. In parallel, despite the recovery In the volume of imported gas fuels from last month’s descent due to bad weather conditions, overall imports dropped by a monthly 23.76%. In turn, the trade deficit narrowed from $1.48B to $1.08B in February.
Lebanon Imports/Exports by February (in $B)