Lebanese oil imports dropped 10.4 percent during 2000, from 4,992,360 tons in 1999 to 4,471,744 tons. However, during the year the overall cost of these imports grew by 40.4 percent, due to sharp oil price hikes, bringing international crude rates up nearly 60 percent.
About one sixth of Lebanon’s total import expenditure in 2000 was ascribed to imports of oil products, their value rising from $809,402,954 to $1,136,366,181 during the year. As a result, the Lebanese trade balance deficit increased to more than six billion dollars, reported the Saudi Al-Watan daily.
Lebanese oil imports consist mainly of benzene, gas oil and fuel oil. Official statistics show that benzene imports fell from 1,344,096 tons in 1999 to 1,263,757 tons in 2000, reflecting a 5.9 percent drop. However, during that period the value of benzene imports to Lebanon climbed from $268,765,436 to $402,595,067, constituting a 49 percent rise.
Official figures further indicate that while fuel oil imports dropped 1.13 percent—from 1,525,07 tons in 1999 to 1,507,830 tons in 2000—their cost value grew from $194,233,934 in 1999 to $270,157,901 in 2000, constituting a 39 percent increase. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)
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