Lebanon Economic Forecast

Lebanon Economic Outlook

July 2, 2019

The economy remains in a bad way, with the private-sector PMI falling in May on a sharper decline in new orders. Moreover, in Q1 the coincident indicator—which measures economic activity—was down year-on-year, while building permits and cement sales also plunged, boding poorly for the construction sector. A glimmer of positive data came on the external front; exports were up in annual terms in February and March, likely thanks to greater stability in Syria. In politics, the draft budget announced in May has yet to be approved by Parliament. The approval and full implementation of the budget’s austerity measures will be key to unlocking USD 11 billion of donor funds and rebuilding shattered investor confidence.

Lebanon Economic Growth

The economy should gain some momentum this year thanks to stronger exports, tourism and Central Bank stimulus measures. Moreover, the enactment of the 2019 budget could boost business confidence. However, growth will still be measly, weighed on by a tighter fiscal stance. Regional instability and an onerous public debt burden pose downside risks. Our panelists expect the economy to grow 1.4% in 2019, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 2.0% in 2020.

Lebanon Economy Data

20132014201520162017
Population (million)5.35.65.96.06.1
GDP per capita (USD)8,8838,6208,5418,5308,779
GDP (USD bn)46.948.350.051.253.4
Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %)2.61.90.41.60.6
Unemployment Rate6.66.66.66.66.6
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)-9.0-6.4-7.9-9.6-7.0
Public Debt (% of GDP)135138141146149
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)1.1-0.7-3.43.15.0
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)-25.4-24.0-16.7-20.5-22.7
Trade Balance (USD billion)-15.3-15.0-13.3-14.0-14.4
Exports (USD billion)5.24.64.03.94.0
Imports (USD billion)20.519.617.317.918.4
Exports (annual variation in %)-7.9-12.1-12.5-1.22.5
Imports (annual variation in %)0.8-4.5-11.53.62.8
International Reserves (USD)36.739.538.843.343.5
External Debt (% of GDP)132133135137138

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Lebanon Facts

ValueChangeDate
Exchange Rate1,5080.0 %Jul 11
Stock Market8550.37 %Jul 10

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