Lebanese Economy
Economy - overview: Lebanon has a free-market economy and a strong laissez-faire commercial tradition. The government does not restrict foreign investment; however, the investment climate suffers from red tape, corruption, arbitrary licensing decisions, complex customs procedures, high taxes, tariffs, and fees, archaic legislation, and weak intellectual property rights. The Lebanese economy is service-oriented; main growth sectors include banking and tourism. The 1975-90 civil war seriously damaged Lebanon's economic infrastructure, cut national output by half, and derailed Lebanon's position as a Middle Eastern entrepot and banking hub. Following the civil war, Lebanon rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and financial infrastructure by borrowing heavily, mostly from domestic banks, which saddled the government with a huge debt burden. Pledges of economic and financial reforms made at separate international donor conferences during the 2000s have mostly gone unfulfilled, including those made during the Paris III Donor Conference in 2007, following the July 2006 war. Spillover from the Syrian conflict, including the influx of more than 1 million Syrian refugees, has increased internal tension and slowed economic growth to the 1-2% range in 2011-13, after four years of averaging 8% growth. Syrian refugees have increased the labor supply, but pushed more Lebanese into unemployment. Chronic fiscal deficits have made Lebanon’s debt-to-GDP ratio the third highest in the world; most of the debt is held internally by Lebanese banks. Weak economic growth limits tax revenues, while the largest government expenditures remain debt servicing and transfers to the electricity sector. These limitations constrain other government spending and limit the government’s ability to invest in necessary infrastructure improvements, such as water, electricity, and transportation.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $81.12 billion (2014 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $49.92 billion (2014 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.3% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $18,000 (2014 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 6.3%
industry: 21.1%
services: 72.6% (2014 est.)
Labor force: 1.481 million
note: does not include as many as 1 million foreign workers (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
Unemployment rate: NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Investment (gross fixed): 21.5% of GDP (2009 est.)
Budget: revenues: $10.24 billion
expenditures: $14.89 billion (2014 est.)
Public debt: 142.4% of GDP (2014 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.9% (2014 est.)
Central bank discount rate: 3.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 7.2% (31 December 2014 est.)
Agriculture - products: citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco; sheep, goats
Industries: banking, tourism, food processing, wine, jewelry, cement, textiles, mineral and chemical products, wood and furniture products, oil refining, metal fabricating
Industrial production growth rate: 4% (2014 est.)
Electricity - production: 15.42 billion kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 14.4 billion kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2013 est.)
Electricity - imports: 840 million kWh (2011 est.)
Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
Oil - consumption: 92,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2012 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2012 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2012 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2012 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
Current account balance: -$12.45 billion (2014 est.)
Exports: $4.092 billion (2014 est.)
Exports - commodities: jewelry, base metals, chemicals, miscellaneous consumer goods, fruit and vegetables, tobacco, construction minerals, electric power machinery and switchgear, textile fibers, paper
Exports - partners: Saudi Arabia 10.8%, UAE 9.7%, Syria 8.7%, Iraq 7.6%, South Africa 7%, Switzerland 4% (2014)
Imports: $20.08 billion (2014 est.)
Imports - commodities: petroleum products, cars, medicinal products, clothing, meat and live animals, consumer goods, paper, textile fabrics, tobacco, electrical machinery and equipment, chemicals
Imports - partners: China 11.8%, Italy 7.7%, US 6.8%, France 6.2%, Germany 5.4%, Russia 4.5%, Greece 4.1% (2014)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $49.43 billion (30 December 2014 est.)
Debt - external: $31.61 billion (30 December 2014 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $NA
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $NA
Exchange rates: Lebanese pounds (LBP) per US dollar - 1,507.5 (2014 est.), 1,507.5 (2013 est.), 1,507.5 (2012 est.), 1,507.5 (2011 est.), 1,507.5 (2010 est.)
economic climate  
Background: Lebanon has a free-market economy and a strong laissez-faire commercial tradition. There are no restrictions on foreign exchange or capital movement, and bank secrecy is strictly enforced.
Lebanon has adopted a law to combat money laundering. There are practically no restrictions on foreign investment; which means it is a relatively easy place to conduct business.
Within this business environment, Lebanon is a country that has:
- Reconstructed its infrastructure, with 80 per cent of the basic infrastructure rehabilitated using the best technologies.
- Revised basically most of its business laws and regulations.
- A reputable banking sector with high financial standing, strictly regulated by the Central Bank.
- Initiated a process of domestic capital market development and accessed frequently international markets.
Export opportunities:  
Update: This page was last updated on 10 November 2015
Sources: 1. CIA, The World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ae.html
2. http://www.austrade.gov.au
3. DIBNC Experts Team