Lebanon Businessnews News

Trade activity stable
Exports to Syria doubled, Sidon port activity thrives
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Foreign trade activity saw a relatively good performance in the first nine months of 2013. Imports remained stable compared to the same period in 2012, totaling $15.9 billion. Exports were down by six percent to $3.16 billion.

Imports of pearls, precious, or semi-precious stones were down by 27 percent compared to last year. Mineral products (oil derivatives) dropped by 18 percent. On the other hand, imports of machinery and mechanical appliances increased by 28 percent.

Exports of oil products increased by 244 percent to $340 million. As Lebanon is not an oil producer, the reason behind this increase was the re-export to Syria of imported oil. Syria was not able to satisfy all its needs due to the current crisis and to international sanctions. Lebanese importers are filling the gap. Exports of pearls, precious, or semi-precious stones dropped by half but totaled $672 million.

Imports through the Masnaa land border crossing were down by 61 percent and exports also dropped by 35 percent due to transportation problems and border shutdowns.

Meanwhile, exports through the Sidon Port were up by 183 percent compared to last year, totaling $124 million. Elie Zakhour, Head of the International Chamber of Navigation, said: “The increase in exports through the Port of Sidon is related to a rise in agricultural exports, especially since the Port of Beirut was congested.” He said that export and import activity increased overall due to higher demand from traders in Syria and Syrian nationals in Lebanon.

China was the top exporter to Lebanon with a bill of $1.65 billion. France came in second with $1.63 billion. Imports from Russia grew by 135 percent compared to 2012, totaling $744 million.

Syria topped export destinations with $441 million, up by 100 percent.

VAT revenues reached more than $1 billion, down by three percent year-on-year. Customs revenues exceeded $1.12 billion, down by four percent.
Reported by Joelle Nassar
Date Posted: Oct 22, 2013
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