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Decline in agriculture and industry during the third quarter while Syrian displacement supports the economy and raises unemployment


According to the Audi Group (AG) economic report for third quarter of 2014, both the agricultural and the industrial sectors have declined, with a decrease of 10.4% in agricultural exports but with an increase in internal demand, and a decrease of 21.7% for the Industrial exports, compared to 2013.  The report noted a modest improvement in the business and services sectors and a 4.2% improvement in tourism.  On the other hand, there was a slight deficit of 302 million LBP in the balance of payment despite an increase of 7.1% in financial remittances.  Exports to Syria have also increased by 9.1% and have reached USD 540 million.  The report also highlighted the resilience of the banking sector which was steadfast during the past nine months despite the local security upheavals.
With regards to the impact of Syrian refugees on Lebanon, the report noted that this is a two-edged sword as they have undoubtedly contributed to the local economy through increasing consumption of goods and services which has served to invigorate the economy, but have also posed an additional burden on the job market, he basic infrastructure and on the overall financial situation of the country. Referring to the last IMF report, AG predicted the level of unemployment to increase to 20% compared to 11% in 2011.  
Source: Al-Safir 17 November 2014

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