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The economic situation in Lebanon during 2015 remains largely unclear


In the midst of economic difficulties that faced Lebanon last year as a result of the precarious regional situation, the year 2015 seems to be wavering, and reporting both positive and negative economic swings. From the positive side, the total number of tourists entering the country grew by 22.6% in last January compared to the same month in 2014. According to the Research and Studies Department statistics, some 90,784 visitors entered Lebanon last month, compared to 74,000 tourists for the same month of the past year. On the other hand, the weekly economic report issued by Credit Libanais on MENA job index and the Lebanon market, showed that 27% of surveyed employers said they were optimistic about prospects for recruitment in the next three month period, which is the same rate as for the previous survey. Furthermore, companies intending to recruit during the period from February 2015 to February 2016 accounted for 31% against 24% indicated in the past survey. The entrepreneurship sector is also apparently keen on recruiting where 27% of respondents are on the lookout for fresh graduates in the field of business administration, 23% for engineers and 22% for graduates in commerce.
On the negative side, the balance of trade for the first month of 2015, has recorded a deficit of USD one billion and 91 million, according to foreign trade statistics. This apparently resulted from the large imbalance between the imports bill of January 2015 which stood at USD one billion and 341 million and the USD 250 million in exports. As such, the total value of imports dropped 28% from USD one billion and 873 million in January 2014 with total exports slightly increasing by 3% from USD 244 million. The inflow of foreign remittances and capital on the other hand witnessed a huge decline in 2014. This notwithstanding, the Association of Banks in Lebanon said that there was no need for panic despite instable forecasts. (Al Hayat, Al Diyar, As Safir, 24 February 2014)

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