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Lebanon Economy Profile 2018

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Economy - overviewLebanon has a free-market economy and a strong laissez-faire commercial tradition. The government does not restrict foreign investment; however, the investment climate suffers from red tape, corruption, arbitrary licensing decisions, complex customs procedures, high taxes, tariffs, and fees, archaic legislation, and weak intellectual property rights. The Lebanese economy is service-oriented; main growth sectors include banking and tourism.

The 1975-90 civil war seriously damaged Lebanon's economic infrastructure, cut national output by half, and derailed Lebanon's position as a Middle Eastern entrepot and banking hub. Following the civil war, Lebanon rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and financial infrastructure by borrowing heavily, mostly from domestic banks, which saddled the government with a huge debt burden. Pledges of economic and financial reforms made at separate international donor conferences during the 2000s have mostly gone unfulfilled, including those made during the Paris III Donor Conference in 2007, following the July 2006 war.

Spillover from the Syrian conflict, including the influx of more than 1.1 million registered Syrian refugees, has increased internal tension and slowed economic growth to the 1-2% range in 2011-17, after four years of averaging 8% growth. Syrian refugees have increased the labor supply, but are blamed for pushing more Lebanese into unemployment. Chronic fiscal deficits have increased Lebanon’s debt-to-GDP ratio, the third highest in the world; most of the debt is held internally by Lebanese banks. Weak economic growth limits tax revenues, while the largest government expenditures remain debt servicing, salaries for government workers, and transfers to the electricity sector. These limitations constrain other government spending, limiting its ability to invest in necessary infrastructure improvements, such as water, electricity, and transportation.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$87.89 billion (2017 est.)
$86.59 billion (2016 est.)
$85.73 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$52.7 billion (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate1.5% (2017 est.)
1% (2016 est.)
0.8% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$19,500 (2017 est.)
$19,400 (2016 est.)
$19,400 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving3.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
4.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
2.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 83.6%
government consumption: 12.8%
investment in fixed capital: 19.4%
investment in inventories: 0.5%
exports of goods and services: 26.4%
imports of goods and services: -42.7% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 5.7%
industry: 21%
services: 73.3% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line28.6% (2004 est.)
Labor force2.166 million
note: excludes as many as 1 million foreign workers and refugees (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rateNA%
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 22.1%
male: 22.3%
female: 21.6% (2007 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budgetrevenues: $10.9 billion
expenditures: $15.99 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues20.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-9.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
Public debt142.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
146.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
note: data cover central government debt, and exclude debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment
Inflation rate (consumer prices)3.1% (2017 est.)
-0.8% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate3.5% (31 December 2010)
10% (31 December 2009)
Commercial bank prime lending rate8.6% (31 December 2017 est.)
8.35% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money$7.366 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$6.739 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money$56.65 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$54.68 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$112.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$104 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$11.22 billion (30 December 2014 est.)
$10.54 billion (30 December 2013 est.)
$10.42 billion (28 December 2012 est.)
Agriculture - productscitrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats
Industriesbanking, tourism, food processing, wine, jewelry, cement, textiles, mineral and chemical products, wood and furniture products, oil refining, metal fabricating
Industrial production growth rate2.1% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance-$9.488 billion (2017 est.)
-$9.382 billion (2016 est.)
Exports$4.051 billion (2017 est.)
$3.689 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiesjewelry, base metals, chemicals, consumer goods, fruit and vegetables, tobacco, construction minerals, electric power machinery and switchgear, textile fibers, paper
Exports - partnersSouth Africa 21.1%, Saudi Arabia 9%, UAE 8%, Syria 6.7%, Iraq 5.4% (2016)
Imports$18.05 billion (2017 est.)
$17.33 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditiespetroleum products, cars, medicinal products, clothing, meat and live animals, consumer goods, paper, textile fabrics, tobacco, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals
Imports - partnersChina 11.2%, Italy 7.5%, US 6.3%, Germany 6.2%, Greece 5.7%, Egypt 4.1% (2016)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$53.1 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$54.04 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external$39.46 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$36.6 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$NA
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$NA
Exchange ratesLebanese pounds (LBP) per US dollar -
1,507.5 (2017 est.)
1,507.5 (2016 est.)
1,507.5 (2015 est.)
1,507.5 (2014 est.)
1,507.5 (2013 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on January 20, 2018

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