Lebanese Ministry of Finance's figures indicate trade deficit of $12,732m for January-September 2012
- Lebanon: Saturday, January 12 - 2013 at 11:44
- PRESS RELEASE
Figures released by the Ministry of Finance, Customs Directorate, indicate a trade deficit of $12,732m during January-September 2012, 14% higher than the deficit registered in the same period of 2011.
It's worth mentioning that this increase in exports comes after two consecutive year-on-year decreases for the past two months (July, August).
Total imports reached $16,031m, increasing by 11% during the period of January-September 2012, when compared to the same period of 2011.
- This rise in imports was induced by a significantly higher bill of "mineral fuels and oil" of 70% ($1,849m) - reflecting a 52% augmentation in volume due to the delayed registration of imports of fuel by EDL. Non-EDL fuel imports also rose during this period by 38% in value terms and 28% in volume terms.
- Imports of "Unwrought & semi-manufactured gold, diamonds, precious stones & metals", dropped by 22% ($343m) despite a 13% increase in volume, reflecting a decline in their weighted price.
- Excluding "mineral fuels and oil" and "unwrought gold, un-mounted diamond & precious stones", imports increased by only 1% ($106m) compared to the same period of 2011.
- Imports of "electrical machinery and equipment", "vehicles and accessories, cranes and lories" and ''plastic and articles'' also witnessed increases primarily due to a rise in their volume of 19%, 1% and 9% respectively.
- The impact of these increases has more than offset the decrease in imports of "aircraft engines, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances", "iron and steel", "pharmaceutical products" and "cereals" which dropped by 10% - mainly due to the importation of an aircraft by MEA during 2011 - 6%, 3% and 8% respectively, in terms of value during January-September 2012 in comparison with the same period of 2011. This variation in value is reflected in a decline in terms of volume of 7%, 2% and 4% respectively for the first three items, vis-à-vis a volume increase of 3% in imports of cereals.
- As for the breakdown of Lebanese imports by country of origin, the United States maintained its ranking as Lebanon's top import trading partner during the period January-September 2012 with a share of 13% of the total. Almost 67% of imports from this country are mineral fuels and oil (67%). China, Italy and France followed with lower shares of about 8% of total imports each.
Exports amounted to $3,299m during the period of January-September 2012, reflecting an increase of 2% compared to the same period of 2011.
- "Unwrought gold, un-mounted diamond & precious stones" increased by 16% ($182m) in terms of value reflecting an increase in gold prices as their volume decreased by 14%. International gold prices followed an upward trend starting at $1,599 at the beginning of August and reaching $1,776 at the end of September 2012.
- Excluding "unwrought gold, un-mounted diamond & precious stones", exports dropped by 5.4% ($113m) during the period under consideration.
- The most notable decreases were in exports of "iron and steel", "electrical machinery and equipment" and "paper and paperboard", which declined by 48% ($101m), 18% ($42m) and 39% ($42m) respectively. The drop in the first item stemmed from a 43% ($74m) decrease in its exports to Turkey, while the decline in the second product is partly attributed to weaker exports to the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and Iraq by 51% ($14m), 89% ($9m) and 21% ($8m) respectively, in spite of an increase of 44% ($13m) in exports to Saudi Arabia. The decline in "paper and paperboard" is mainly due to lower exports to the United Kingdom, Syrian Arab republic and Iraq by 94% ($11m), 54% ($10m) and 72% ($9m) respectively.
- From a regional perspective, exports to Arab countries increased by 12% (exports to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates increased by 17% and 13% respectively) in the aforementioned period of 2012. Only exports to Iraq recorded a significant decline over the mentioned period widening the year-on year difference to reach an amount of $17m (10%), mainly as a result of the political unrest in Syria - which represents Lebanon's only overland trade route for exports.
- Lastly, the Lebanese exports by major destination shows that South Africa was at the top of the list during January-September 2012, with a share of 20% of the total, noting that almost all exports to this country are "unwrought gold, un-mounted diamond & precious stones". Switzerland ranked second with a share of 12%, followed by Saudi Arabia and UAE with 8% each.
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