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Real exports up 13 percent in the first half
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Total ‘real’ exports increased 13 percent in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year, registering $1.13 billion, according to figures published by Customs.

This increase comes after a 29 percent drop in the first half last year, compared to the same period in 2016.

'Real' export figures exclude pearls and precious stones, which registered $396 million compared to $337 million last year. The figures also exclude mineral products (mostly oil products), which decreased to $13 million from $35 million in the previous year.

Industrial exports increased from $918 million last year to $1.04 billion during the first semester year.

Exports of chemical products had the largest increase, raising 20 percent to $177 million.

Exports of machinery and electrical instruments dropped by four percent to $151 million.

Exports of prepared foodstuff and beverages dropped 13 percent reaching $208 million. Exports of foodstuff to Syria witnessed a huge drop this year. “Most of the food industry exports to Syria came through Lebanon as aid from international organizations last year,” said Mounir Bissat, Secretary General of the Syndicate of Lebanese Food Industrialists.

“Apart from the drop to Syria, food exports remained stable to other countries such as the Gulf,” said Bissat.

Agricultural exports increased by seven percent to reach $88 million in the first half of the year. These exports witnessed a seven percent decrease in the same period last year compared to the previous year.

Naim Khalil, Chairman of the Syndicate of Fruits and Vegetables Exporters and Importers, said a larger amount of potatoes and citrus fruits has been exported to Kuwait and UAE. But according to Khalil, the massive amount of fruits and vegetables will be exported in the second half of the year.

Agricultural exports to Syria topped the list ($13 million) followed by Saudi Arabia ($10 million), and Qatar ($8 million).
Reported by Rania Ghanem
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Date Posted: Aug 09, 2018