Retail activity down. BTA-Fransabank Index shows recessionary pressure - Lebanon

Retail activity down
BTA-Fransabank Index
shows recessionary pressure
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The Beirut Traders Association-Fransabank Retail Index said retail trade activity continued to experience recessionary pressures in the third quarter (Q3) of 2013 due to the persisting deterioration of the local and regional situations. This could cost retail traders more lost opportunities.

Activity in the retail sector dropped by 15 percent year-on-year. Households’ purchasing power dropped, coupled with an increase in unemployment, due to the growing Syrian workforce inside the country.

Sales of textiles, clothes, footwear, and other leather goods dropped by more than 20 percent.

Sales of books, newspapers and magazines, stationery, and office supplies dropped by about 20 percent although prices in this sector increased by around 15 percent, according to official figures by the Central Administration of Statistics (CAS).

Inflation was up by 0.73 percent, raising fears that the Lebanese economy is on the verge of recession.

Turnover in supermarkets and grocery stores remained stable although prices in this sector witnessed a 3.2 percent decrease.

The index said the main factors undermining consumption were past concerns of Western military action against Syria. The war in Syria also paralyzed land transport routes of goods and tourist arrivals from the Arab inland, mainly Jordanian and Iraqi nationals.

Other negative factors included the absence of Gulf visitors, whose purchases represent 45 percent of the total turnover of the retail market subject to VAT refund.
Reported by Rana Freifer
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Date Posted: Nov 13, 2013