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Lebanon Economy
Economy - overview:
The 1975-91 civil war seriously damaged Lebanon's economic infrastructure, cut national output by half, and all but ended Lebanon's position as a Middle Eastern entrepot and banking hub. Peace enabled the central government to restore control in Beirut, begin collecting taxes, and regain access to key port and government facilities. Economic recovery was helped by a financially sound banking system and resilient small- and medium-scale manufacturers. Family remittances, banking services, manufactured and farm exports, and international aid provided the main sources of foreign exchange. Lebanon's economy made impressive gains since the launch in 1993 of "Horizon 2000," the government's $20 billion reconstruction program. Real GDP grew 8% in 1994, 7% in 1995, 4% in 1996 and in 1997, but slowed to 1.2% in 1998, -1.6% in 1999, -0.6% in 2000, 0.8% in 2001, 1.5% in 2002, and 3% in 2003. During the 1990s, annual inflation fell to almost 0% from more than 100%. Lebanon has rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and financial infrastructure. The government nonetheless faces serious challenges in the economic arena. It has funded reconstruction by borrowing heavily - mostly from domestic banks. In order to reduce the ballooning national debt, the re-installed HARIRI government began an economic austerity program to rein in government expenditures, increase revenue collection, and privatize state enterprises. The HARIRI government met with international donors at the Paris II conference in November 2002 to seek bilateral assistance restructuring its domestic debt at lower rates of interest. While privatization of state-owned enterprises had not occurred by the end of 2003, massive receipts from donor nations stabilized government finances throughout 2002 and 2003.
GDP:
purchasing power parity - $17.82 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
3% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $4,800 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 12%
industry: 21%
services: 67% (2000)
Investment (gross fixed):
24.8% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line:
28% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.5% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
1.5 million
note: in addition, there are as many as 1 million foreign workers (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture NA, industry NA, services NA
Unemployment rate:
18% (1997 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $4.414 billion
expenditures: $7.026 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (2003 est.)
Public debt:
185.1% of GDP (2003)
Industries:
banking; food processing; jewelry; cement; textiles; mineral and chemical products; wood and furniture products; oil refining; metal fabricating
Industrial production growth rate:
NA
Electricity - production:
6.728 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 97.2%
hydro: 2.8%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
7.44 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
1.183 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
107,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Agriculture - products:
citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats
Current account balance:
$-2.865 billion (2003)
Exports:
$1.359 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
authentic jewelry, inorganic chemicals, miscellaneous consumer goods, fruit, tobacco, construction minerals, electric power machinery and switchgear, textile fibers, paper
Exports - partners:
UAE 10.3%, Switzerland 9.3%, Saudi Arabia 7.7%, US 7.5%, Turkey 4.6%, Jordan 4.5% (2003 est.)
Imports:
$6.073 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
petroleum products, cars, medicinal products, clothing, meat and live animals, consumer goods, paper, textile fabrics, tobacco
Imports - partners:
France 13.1%, Germany 11.4%, Italy 10.5%, Syria 5.2%, China 5.1%, UK 4.8%, US 4.4% (2003 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
$16.35 billion (2003)
Debt - external:
$20.79 billion (2003 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$3.5 billion (pledges 1997-2001); $4.2 billion in soft loan pledges November 2002 Paris II Aid Conference (2002)
Currency:
Lebanese pound (LBP)
Currency code:
LBP
Exchange rates:
Lebanese pounds per US dollar - 1,507.5 (2003), 1,507.5 (2002), 1,507.5 (2001), 1,507.5 (2000), 1,507.84 (1999)
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