Lebanon Economic Forecast

Lebanon Economic Outlook

January 8, 2019

As anxiety spikes over Lebanon’s economic and financial situation, both Moody’s and Fitch Ratings downgraded the country’s outlook to negative in December. Recent data remains underwhelming amid prolonged political impasse. Seven months after the general elections, cabinet posts remain unfilled and a swift resolution to the stalemate is necessary to kickstart the economy and unlock donor funds, especially pertinent given the high public debt and large twin deficits. In the third quarter, construction permits and cement deliveries decreased sharply, while the trade deficit widened and the money supply continued to contract noticeably. Moreover, although the trade deficit narrowed year-on-year in October, construction permits and cement deliveries dropped and the money supply fell yet again in the same month.

Lebanon Economic Growth

Large twin deficits, a large public debt burden, a possible slowdown in the construction sector and delays in forming a new government all cloud the outlook. Against this gloomy backdrop, Met the why particular panelists expect growth of 2.1% in 2019, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 2.5% in 2020.

Lebanon Economy Data

20132014201520162017
Population (million)4.44.44.44.54.5
GDP per capita (USD)11,37111,80211,18811,293-  
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 Rate1,5080.0 %Jan 30
Stock Market9490.37 %Jan 30

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