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Trade Balance until June: Higher import bill overshadows improvement in exports

3-9-2019

The Customs Department statistics pointed an increase in the trade balance deficit by USD 372.06 million annually to USD 8.41 billion during the first half of the current year. The reasons are reportedly attributed to a surge in the import bill by USD 557.97 million annually to reach USD 10.14 billion, which overshadowed the improvement in the value of exports which recorded an increase of USD 185.91 million reaching a total of USD 1.73 billion. According to the Customs figures, Switzerland topped the list of countries importing from Lebanon, while the US came in the lead among countries exporting to Lebanon. Precious stones, precious metals and jewelry products came first on the list of exports at the end of June 2019, against ‘metallic items’ which were on top of imported goods to the country. On the other hand, a report released by the ministry of industry during the first five months of 2019, has shown that the value of industrial exports during said period stood at USD one billion and 137.4 against USD one billion and 79.3 during the same period of last year, rising by 5.4% compared to 2018 and 12.3% compared to 2017. Commenting on the above report, the industry minister, Wael Abu Faour, said the government’s interest through the adoption earlier this year of incentive and protectionist policies aimed to upgrade the sector and create growth opportunities, has started to reap results. (Al Diyar, August 26, 31, 2019)

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