Lebanon Economic Forecast

Lebanon Economic Outlook

November 27, 2018

Activity in the economy remained sluggish in January-September, against a backdrop of prolonged political deadlock. The real estate sector—a cornerstone of the economy—seems to have performed poorly in the period, with cement deliveries contracting year-on-year and construction permits dropping significantly, while the merchandise trade balance widened despite robust export growth. More positively, the Central Bank’s economic activity index averaged higher than in January–September 2017 period. Looking at the fourth and final quarter, October’s PMI for the private sector highlighted ongoing deteriorations in operating conditions and more job losses. Moreover, prolonged political deadlock risks postponement of necessary reforms which are needed to unlock conditionals loans, boost investor confidence and kickstart the economy.

Lebanon Economic Growth

High public indebtedness and a possible slowdown in the real estate sector cloud the outlook. Delays in the formation of a new government pose further downside risks. FocusEconomics panelists expect growth of 2.2% in 2019, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast, and 2.7% in 2020.

Lebanon Economy Data

20132014201520162017
Population (million)4.44.44.44.54.5
GDP per capita (USD)10,37110,80211,18811,293-  
GDP (USD bn)45.947.849.550.4-  
Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %)2.62.00.81.0-  
Unemployment Rate6.26.26.26.26.3
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)1.1-0.7-3.43.15.0
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)-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)5.24.54.03.94.0
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 %)0.87.7-14.12.12.8
International Reserves (USD)36.739.538.843.343.5
External Debt (% of GDP)67.462.662.463.4-  

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Lebanon Facts

ValueChangeDate
Exchange Rate1,5070.0 %Dec 12
Stock Market9510.37 %Dec 12

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