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Lebanon Economy: from the All Country Info reference guide to country facts

Lebanon Economy

Lebanon Economy: A summary of information about Lebanon Economy, from government research data as well as independent research and other sources.

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Lebanon: Economy

Economy - overview
The 1975-91 civil war seriously damaged Lebanon's
economic infrastructure, cut national output by half, and all but
ended Lebanon's position as a Middle Eastern entrepot and banking hub.
Peace has enabled the central government to restore control in Beirut,
begin collecting taxes, and regain access to key port and government
facilities. Economic recovery has been helped by a financially sound
banking system and resilient small- and medium-scale manufacturers,
with family remittances, banking services, manufactured and farm
exports, and international aid as the main sources of foreign
exchange. Lebanon's economy has made impressive gains since the launch
of "Horizon 2000," the government's $20 billion reconstruction program
in 1993. Real GDP grew 8% in 1994 and 7% in 1995 before Israel's
Operation Grapes of Wrath in April 1996 stunted economic activity.
Real GDP grew at an average annual rate of less than 3% per year for
1997 and 1998 and only 1% in 1999. During 1992-98, annual inflation
fell from more than 100% to 5%, and foreign exchange reserves jumped
to more than $6 billion from $1.4 billion. Burgeoning capital inflows
have generated foreign payments surpluses, and the Lebanese pound has
remained relatively stable. Progress also has been made in rebuilding
Lebanon's war-torn physical and financial infrastructure. Solidere, a
$2-billion firm, is managing the reconstruction of Beirut's central
business district; the stock market reopened in January 1996; and
international banks and insurance companies are returning. The
government nonetheless faces serious challenges in the economic arena.
It has had to fund reconstruction by tapping foreign exchange reserves
and boosting borrowing. Reducing the government budget deficit is a
major goal of the LAHUD government. The stalled peace process and
ongoing violence in southern Lebanon could lead to wider hostilities
that would disrupt vital capital inflows. Furthermore, the gap between
rich and poor has widened in the 1990's, resulting in grassroots
dissatisfaction over the skewed distribution of the reconstruction's
benefits and leading the government to shift its focus from rebuilding
infrastructure to improving living conditions.
GDP
purchasing power parity - $16.2 billion (1999 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
1% (1999 est.)
GDP - per capita
purchasing power parity - $4,500 (1999 est.)
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 12%
industry: 27%
services: 61% (1998 est.)
Population below poverty line
28% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
4.5% (1999 est.)
Labor force
1.3 million (1999 est.)
note: in addition, there are as many as 1 million foreign workers
(1997 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
services 62%, industry 31%, agriculture
7% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate
18% (1997 est.)
Budget
revenues: $4.9 billion
expenditures: $8.36 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA
(1999 est.)
Industries
banking; food processing; jewelry; cement; textiles;
mineral and chemical products; wood and furniture products; oil
refining; metal fabricating
Industrial production growth rate
NA%
Electricity - production
9.7 billion kWh (1998)
Electricity - production by source
fossil fuel: 90.72%
hydro: 9.28%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1998)
Electricity - consumption
9.629 billion kWh (1998)
Electricity - exports
0 kWh (1998)
Electricity - imports
608 million kWh (1998)
Agriculture - products
citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables,
potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats
Exports
$866 million (f.o.b., 1999 est.)
Exports - commodities
foodstuffs and tobacco, textiles, chemicals,
metal and metal products, electrical equipment and products, jewelry,
paper and paper products
Exports - partners
Saudi Arabia 12%, UAE 10%, France 9%, Syria 7%, US
7%, Kuwait 4%, Jordan, Turkey (1998)
Imports
$5.7 billion (f.o.b., 1999 est.)
Imports - commodities
foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment,
consumer goods, chemicals, textiles, metals, fuels, agricultural foods
Imports - partners
Italy 12%, France 10%, US 9%, Germany 9%,
Switzerland 6%, Japan, UK, Syria (1998)
Debt - external
$8.8 billion (1999 est.)
Economic aid - recipient
$3.5 billion (pledges 1997-2001)
Currency
1 Lebanese pound = 100 piasters
Exchange rates
Lebanese pounds per US$1 - 1,507.5 (January 2000),
1,507.8 (1999), 1,516.1 (1998), 1,539.5 (1997), 1,571.4 (1996),
1,621.4 (1995)
Fiscal year
calendar year
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