Lebanon Economic Forecast

Lebanon Economic Outlook

November 3, 2020

The economy remained deeply depressed in Q3, hit by a combination of the currency crisis, Covid-19, and heightened political and social instability. The downturn was accentuated by the Beirut port explosion on 4 August, which caused billions of dollars of damage and left hundreds of thousands of people temporarily homeless. The private sector PMI was mired in contractionary territory throughout the quarter, amid declines in output and new orders. Turning to Q4, prospects appear bleak, as fresh Covid-19 restrictions were implemented in mid-October, including local lockdowns and the nationwide closure of bars and nightclubs. In politics, former PM Saad Hariri was recently tasked with forming a government, and has pledged to form a technocratic cabinet to implement the structural reforms necessary to secure vital international funding.

Lebanon Economic Growth

After this year’s collapse, GDP is seen declining further next year, albeit at a softer pace, due to weak sentiment and the lingering impact of the country’s financial crisis. A worsening of the viral outbreak, potential further social unrest and doubts over the government’s commitment to reform and ability to secure external funding pose downside risks. Our panelists see the economy contracting 1.6% in 2021, which is up 0.3 percentage points from last month’s forecast, before expanding 1.9% in 2022.

Lebanon Economy Data

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Population (million)
GDP per capita (USD)8,5418,5308,7799,2948,803
GDP (USD bn)
Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %)
Unemployment Rate6.
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)-7.9-9.6-7.0-11.0-10.9
Public Debt (% of GDP)141146150155171
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)-
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)-3.7-
Exchange Rate (vs USD)1,5081,5081,5101,5121,509
Current Account (% of GDP)-17.1-20.4-22.7-23.6-  
Trade Balance (USD billion)-13.6-14.0-14.4-15.1-  
Exports (USD billion)  
Imports (USD billion)17.617.918.418.9-  
Exports (annual variation in %)-12.5-1.22.5-4.8-  
Imports (annual variation in %)-  
International Reserves (USD)38.843.343.540.638.2
External Debt (% of GDP)135138139140-  

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Lebanon Facts

Value Change Date
Exchange Rate1,5130.0 %Dec 31

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