The Institute of International Finance has revised Lebanon’s real GDP growth to 1.2% in 2015 from a previous forecast of 1.1%. The IMF attributed the weak economic activity to the prolonged domestic political crisis and rising regional insecurity.
Because of sluggish growth, the IIF projects the primary budget surplus to decline from 2.7% of GDP in 2014 to 1.4% of GDP in 2015, however the IIF indicated that Lebanon is capable of mitigating economic risks because of its substantial foreign currency reserves and robust banking sector, it projected the Central Banks’s assets in foreign currency at $40.6 billion at the end of 2015, up from $39.5 billion in 2014. In the event of the election of a new president and a de-escalation of the Syrian conflict, the IIF expects GDP growth to reach 2.5% in 2016.
Lebanon’s trade deficit dropped by 16.9% year-on-year in the first 3 quarters of 2015 to $11 billion due to a decrease of $2.5 billion in imports while exports fell by only $279.3 million, the total value of Lebanese imports dropped by 15.9% year-year in the fist 3 quarters of 2015 to reach $13.2 billion while the value of aggregate exports dropped by 11.1% to $2.2 billion during the same period, the value of imported oil and mineral fuels, which accounted for 45.6% of total imports declined by 42.3% to $2.3 billion.
Passenger numbers at Beirut International Airport increased by 10% to reach 6,124,256 in the fist 10 months of 2015 compared to 5,567,015 during the same period of last year, according to the latest figures released by the civil aviation authority, passenger arrivals increased by 8.5% and departures rose by 10% while the number of flights by foreign and national travel agencies increased by 6% to reach 57,514 flights.
Let’s hope that 2016 will bring us a new president and enough stability in the country allowing a notable increase in all economic figures.