Private sector investment ongoing despite doomsayers. GDP growth is expected to improve in 2019

Private sector investment
ongoing despite doomsayers
GDP growth is expected to improve in 2019
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The private sector continues to invest in the economy despite the negative mood in the country, according to ‘The numbers contradict doomsayers’, an article published in the May issue of Lebanon Opportunities.

Data gathered by InfoPro Research show that nearly $3.1 billion were invested by the private sector over the last three years. The number does not include real estate investments or small and micro enterprises.

“This is the right time for making deals at a bargain, investors must not wait until prices rise, an early bird gets the worm,” said Samir Nasr, Chairman of ECE Consultants. There are good investment opportunities during an economic slowdown because prices drop, he said.

The banking sector is still attracting deposits. Customer deposits in both commercial and investment banks increased by $21.6 billion over the last three years.

Investment in residential real estate projects reached $7.8 billion over the same period.

Imports of industrial machinery grew 13 percent over the last three years, which indicates that manufacturers were upgrading their machines or expanding their production.

The number of granted licenses in the industrial sector doubled in 2017 compared with 2012. Almost one-third of these licenses were for the creation of new factories.

Agro-food industries are increasingly attracting investments because of their high added value, mainly due to the availability of agricultural resources.

Lebanese businesspeople are not the only ones making investments. Investors from several countries, including China, are interested in industrial zones. The European Investment Bank (EIB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and the Italian Government have agreed to provide funding worth $120 million to finance the creation of industrial zones.

The travel and tourism sectors attracted capital investment of $1.4 billion in 2017, and $1.2 billion in 2016, according to the latest ‘Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2018 Lebanon’ report published by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). The number of inbound tourists increased six percent in 2018 and more than two million tourists are expected to visit the country this year.

More than five hospitals launched or opened during the last three years. Most of them are in underserved areas.

GDP growth is expected to witness some improvement in 2019 after three years of deceleration culminating in a real growth rate of just 0.2 percent in 2018. Real GDP growth is likely to range from one to 2.4 percent this year, according to forecasts by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and Bank Audi.
Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul
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Date Posted: May 10, 2019