Lebanon's exports slip as Europe buys less and Syria kills trade
Industrial exports fell by 5 percent year-on-year to $1.54 billion in the first half of 2012, as international demand for Lebanese products continued to be affected by weak economic conditions in Europe, while land transportation to regional states remained challenging due to turmoil in Syria. Local industrial and entrepreneurial activity was also dulled by internal political tension, as indicated by the 12.8 percent annual slide in industrial equipment and machinery imports.
In June alone, industrial exports were almost unchanged from the previous month at $252.9 million, but down by 19.5 percent from the previous year. Exports of precious or semi-precious stones (excluding gold ingots and uncut diamonds) fell to $31.9 million in June 2012 from $58.3 million in June 2011. Machinery and mechanical appliances captured 17.1 percent of overall industrial exports, followed by food products and base metals that accounted for 15.3 percent and 12.6 percent of total exports respectively. Arab countries remained the major export destination for Lebanese goods, taking 61 percent of local production, with Saudi Arabia alone importing $34.3 million or 13.5 percent and the UAE taking $32.3 million or 12.8 percent of Lebanese exports.