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    Lebanon Economy 2001

      Economy - overview: The 1975-91 civil war seriously damaged Lebanon's economic infrastructure, cut national output by half, and all but ended Lebanon's position as a Middle Eastern entrepot and banking hub. Peace enabled the central government to restore control in Beirut, begin collecting taxes, and regain access to key port and government facilities. Economic recovery was helped by a financially sound banking system and resilient small- and medium-scale manufacturers. Family remittances, banking services, manufactured and farm exports, and international aid provided the main sources of foreign exchange. Lebanon's economy has made impressive gains since the launch in 1993 of "Horizon 2000," the government's $20 billion reconstruction program. Real GDP grew 8% in 1994, 7% in 1995, 4% per year in 1996 and 1997 but slowed to 2% in 1998, -1% in 1999, and 1% in 2000. Annual inflation fell during the course of the 1990s from more than 100% to 0%, and foreign exchange reserves jumped from $1.4 billion to more than $6 billion. Burgeoning capital inflows have generated foreign payments surpluses, and the Lebanese pound has remained very stable for the past two years. Lebanon has rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and financial infrastructure. Solidere, a $2-billion firm, has managed the reconstruction of Beirut's central business district; the stock market reopened in January 1996; and international banks and insurance companies are returning. The government nonetheless faces serious challenges in the economic arena. It has funded reconstruction by tapping foreign exchange reserves and by borrowing heavily - mostly from domestic banks. The newly re-installed HARIRI government's announced policies fail to address the ever-increasing budgetary deficits and national debt burden. The gap between rich and poor has widened in the 1990s, resulting in grassroots dissatisfaction over the skewed distribution of the reconstruction's benefits.

      GDP: purchasing power parity - $18.2 billion (2000 est.)

      GDP - real growth rate: 1% (2000 est.)

      GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $5,000 (2000 est.)

      GDP - composition by sector:
      agriculture: 12%
      industry: 27%
      services: 61% (1999 est.)

      Population below poverty line: 28% (1999 est.)

      Household income or consumption by percentage share:
      lowest 10%: NA%
      highest 10%: NA%

      Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0% (2000 est.)

      Labor force: 1.3 million (1999 est.)
      note: in addition, there are as many as 1 million foreign workers (1997 est.)

      Labor force - by occupation: services NA%, industry NA%, agriculture NA%

      Unemployment rate: 18% (1997 est.)

      revenues: $3.31 billion
      expenditures: $5.55 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)

      Industries: banking; food processing; jewelry; cement; textiles; mineral and chemical products; wood and furniture products; oil refining; metal fabricating

      Industrial production growth rate: NA%

      Electricity - production: 7.748 billion kWh (1999)

      Electricity - production by source:
      fossil fuel: 91.29%
      hydro: 8.71%
      nuclear: 0%
      other: 0% (1999)

      Electricity - consumption: 7.86 billion kWh (1999)

      Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1999)

      Electricity - imports: 654 million kWh (1999)

      Agriculture - products: citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats

      Exports: $700 million (f.o.b., 2000 est.)

      Exports - commodities: foodstuffs and tobacco, textiles, chemicals, precious stones, metal and metal products, electrical equipment and products, jewelry, paper and paper products

      Exports - partners: UAE 9%, Saudi Arabia 8%, Syria 6%, US 6%, Kuwait 6%, France 5%, Belgium 5%, Jordan 4% (1999)

      Imports: $6.2 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)

      Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, textiles, metals, fuels, agricultural foods

      Imports - partners: Italy 13%, France 11%, Germany 8%, US 7%, Switzerland 6%, Japan, UK, Syria (1999)

      Debt - external: $9.6 billion (2000 est.)

      Economic aid - recipient: $3.5 billion (pledges 1997-2001)

      Currency: Lebanese pound (LBP)

      Currency code: LBP

      Exchange rates: Lebanese pounds per US dollar - 1,507.5 (January 2001), 1,507.5 (2000), 1,507.8 (1999), 1,516.1 (1998), 1,539.5 (1997), 1,571.4 (1996)

      Fiscal year: calendar year

      NOTE: The information regarding Lebanon on this page is re-published from the 2001 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Lebanon Economy 2001 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Lebanon Economy 2001 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 21-Dec-01
    Copyright © 2001 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)