Lebanon Economy 2009

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Economy - overview:
Lebanon 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, 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 all but ended Lebanon's position as a Middle Eastern entrepot and banking hub. In the years since, Lebanon has rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and financial infrastructure by borrowing heavily - mostly from domestic banks. In an attempt to reduce the ballooning national debt, the Rafiq HARIRI government in 2000 began an austerity program, reining in government expenditures, increasing revenue collection, and passing legislation to privatize state enterprises, but economic and financial reform initiatives stalled and public debt continued to grow despite receipt of more than $2 billion in bilateral assistance at the 2002 Paris II Donors Conference. The Israeli-Hizballah conflict in July-August 2006 caused an estimated $3.6 billion in infrastructure damage, and prompted international donors to pledge nearly $1 billion in recovery and reconstruction assistance. Donors met again in January 2007 at the Paris III Donor Conference and pledged more than $7.5 billion to Lebanon for development projects and budget support, conditioned on progress on Beirut's fiscal reform and privatization program. An 18-month political stalemate and sporadic sectarian and political violence hampered economic activity, particularly tourism, retail sales, and investment, until the new government was formed in July 2008. Political stability since the Doha Accord of May 2008 has helped to boost investment and tourism, but economic growth is likely to slow in 2009 as a result of the global economic recession.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$44.07 billion (2008 est.)
$41.46 billion (2007)
$39.86 billion (2006)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$28.02 billion (2008 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
7% (2008 est.)
4% (2007 est.)
-4.3% (2006 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$11,100 (2008 est.)
$10,600 (2007 est.)
$10,300 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 5.1%
industry: 19.1%
services: 75.8% (2008 est.)

Labor force:
1.1 million
note: in addition, there are as many as 1 million foreign workers (2007 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Unemployment rate:
9.2% (2007 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Investment (gross fixed):
24.1% of GDP (2008 est.)

revenues: $7 billion
expenditures: $10 billion (2008 est.)

Public debt:
163.5% of GDP (2008 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
10% (2008 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
12% (31 December 2007)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
10.26% (31 December 2007)

Stock of money:
$2.7 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of quasi money:
$657 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of domestic credit:
$45.51 billion (31 December 2007)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$9.3 billion (31 December 2008)

Agriculture - products:
citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats

banking, tourism, food processing, wine, jewelry, cement, textiles, mineral and chemical products, wood and furniture products, oil refining, metal fabricating

Industrial production growth rate:

Electricity - production:
8.764 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - consumption:
8.161 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - imports:
929 million kWh (2006 est.)

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

Oil - consumption:
106,000 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil - exports:
0 bbl/day (2005)

Oil - imports:
97,590 bbl/day (2005)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Current account balance:
-$4.344 billion (2008 est.)

$3.5 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities:
jewelry, base metals, chemicals, miscellaneous consumer goods, fruit and vegetables, tobacco, construction minerals, electric power machinery and switchgear, textile fibers, paper

Exports - partners:
Syria 25.2%, UAE 11.8%, Switzerland 8.2%, Saudi Arabia 5.6% (2007)

$16.1 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities:
petroleum products, cars, medicinal products, clothing, meat and live animals, consumer goods, paper, textile fabrics, tobacco, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals

Imports - partners:
Syria 12.1%, Italy 8.5%, France 8.3%, US 7%, China 5.9%, Germany 5.3%, Saudi Arabia 4.8% (2007)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$25.1 billion (31 December 2008)

Debt - external:
$21.2 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:

Exchange rates:
Lebanese pounds (LBP) per US dollar - 1,507.5 (2008 est.), 1,507.5 (2007), 1,507.5 (2006), 1,507.5 (2005), 1,507.5 (2004)

NOTE: The information regarding Lebanon on this page is re-published from the 2009 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Lebanon Economy 2009 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Lebanon Economy 2009 should be addressed to the CIA.

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This page was last modified 10-Jun-09
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