Rising exports and falling imports helped Lebanon's trade deficit shrink 2.1% y/y to USD 9.92bn in the first seven months of 2013, preliminary figures from the Lebanese Customs published by daily Assafir showed on Sept 2. Lower energy prices and demand amid favourable weather conditions helped keep Lebanon’s imports bill anchored over the period. The Syrian turmoil continued to boost Lebanon’s exports amid rising Syrian local demand for fuel, fresh produce and other food items.
Exports rose 4% y/y to USD 2.59bn and imports fell 1% to USD 12.51bn over the period. Mineral products remained the top import item with USD 3.05bn (24% of imports) and electrical equipment and machinery imports followed with USD 1.55bn (12% of total). Chemicals ranked third at USD 1.19bn. Transport items were fourth at USD 938mn and base metals came fifth at USD 866mn. Food imports ranked sixth at USD 803mn.
China topped the list of exporters to Lebanon in January-July shipping USD 1.14bn worth of goods. Italy came second with USD 1.03bn and the US was third with USD 976mn. France ranked fourth with exports of USD 903mn and Germany fifth at USD 752mn.
Jewellery and pearls sales remained Lebanon’s top export items at USD 579mn (22% of sales). Minerals ranked second at USD 347mn and base metals third. Electrical appliance and machinery exports were fourth at USD 310mn and food items fifth at USD 257mn.
Syria topped the list of importers in January-July buying USD 409mn worth of Lebanon's goods. Saudi Arabia followed with USD 231mn and the UAE was third with USD 197mn. Iraq ranked fourth at USD 151mn. Transit activity in Lebanon remained strong over the period, rising 36% y/y to USD 267mn. Re-exports fell 8% to USD 142mn.
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