Lebanon Economic Forecast

Lebanon Economic Outlook

July 3, 2018

Nearly two months after general elections, the formation of a government is still underway, as squabbles over ministerial posts and infighting among several groups over their representation in the cabinet continue. Foreign investors have pressed for the need to form a new government in a timely manner to kickstart a struggling economy, which is suffocated by high debts and twin deficits, and to maintain business confidence. Similarly, in a recent staff visit the IMF commented on the urgent need to improve the government’s finances, suggesting increasing VAT rates, gradually reducing costly subsidies and limiting public wages. More positively, the external sector has strengthened so far this year, with export growth substantially outpacing import growth.

Lebanon Economic Growth

The main risks to the macroeconomic outlook are the sizable fiscal and current account deficits and the high public and external debt levels, which are not expected to improve significantly over the forecast horizon. However, household expenditure should remain robust on the back of stronger services and tourism sectors. FocusEconomics panelists expect growth of 1.9% in 2018, unchanged from last month’s forecast, and 2.5% in 2019.

Lebanon Economy Data

Population (million)
GDP per capita (USD)10,37110,80211,18811,293-  
GDP (USD bn)45.947.849.550.4-  
Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %)  
Unemployment Rate6.
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)-8.7-6.0-7.3-9.2-7.3
Public Debt (% of GDP)138139142151153
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)1.1-0.7-
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)4.81.9-3.8-0.84.5
Exchange Rate (vs USD)1,5081,5081,5081,5081,508
Current Account (% of GDP)-26.7-28.1-19.6-23.3-  
Trade Balance (USD billion)-15.3-17.5-15.0-15.4-15.9
Exports (USD billion)
Imports (USD billion)20.522.119.019.419.9
Exports (annual variation in %)-7.9-12.2-12.5-1.32.4
Imports (annual variation in %)0.87.7-
International Reserves (USD)36.739.538.843.343.5
External Debt (% of GDP)67.462.662.463.4-  

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Lebanon Facts

Exchange Rate1,5110.0 %Jul 17
Stock Market1,0380.37 %Jul 17

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