Libyan Economy
Economy - overview: Libya's economy is almost entirely dependent on the nation's energy sector, which generates about 65% of GDP and 96% of government revenue. Income from the sale of crude oil and natural gas, coupled with a small population, give Libya one of the highest nominal per capita GDPs in Africa, but Libya’s leaders have hindered economic development by, for the most part, failing to use these financial resources to invest in national infrastructure. Libyan sales of oil and natural gas collapsed during the Revolution of 2011, rebounded in 2012 and 2013, but then fell sharply in late 2013 and throughout 2014 due to major protest disruptions at Libyan oil ports and around the country. The state sector is large and growing, with the majority of the Libyan workforce receiving a government salary in 2014. Sharply decreased revenues and increased payments for state salaries and for subsidies on fuel and food resulted in an estimated budget deficit about 50% of GDP in 2014, up from about 4% in 2013. Libya’s economic transition away from Qadhafi’s notionally socialist model toward a market-based economy stalled as revenues shrank, political uncertainty grew, and security deteriorated. Rival political factions in late 2014 were competing for control of the central bank and the national oil company, while funding for economic reform and infrastructure projects has stopped.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $97.58 billion (2014 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $41.15 billion (2014 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: -24% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $15,700 (2014 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 2%
industry: 45.8%
services: 52.2% (2014 est.)
Labor force: 1.738 million (2014 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 17%
industry: 23%
services: 59% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate: 30% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Investment (gross fixed): 16% of GDP (2009 est.)
Budget: revenues: $18.24 billion
expenditures: $25.22 billion (2014 est.)
Public debt: 2.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.8% (2014 est.)
Central bank discount rate: 9.52% (31 December 2010)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 5.6% (31 December 2014 est.)
Agriculture - products: wheat, barley, olives, dates, citrus, vegetables, peanuts, soybeans; cattle
Industries: petroleum, iron and steel, food processing, textiles, handicrafts, cement
Industrial production growth rate: -9% (2014 est.)
Electricity - production: 25.96 billion kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 22.31 billion kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity - exports: 14 million kWh (2012 est.)
Electricity - imports: 61 million kWh (2012 est.)
Oil - production: 310,000 bbl/day (2014)
Oil - consumption: 273,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
Oil - exports: 735,000 bbl/day
note: Libyan crude oil export values are highly volatile because of continuing protests and other disruptions across the country (2013 est.)
Oil - imports: 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Oil - proved reserves: 48.47 billion bbl (1 January 2014 est.)
Natural gas - production: 12.19 billion cu m (2012 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 5.716 billion cu m (2012 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 6.47 billion cu m (2012 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2012 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 1.549 trillion cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
Current account balance: -$12.39 billion (2014 est.)
Exports: $17.49 billion (2014 est.)
Exports - commodities: crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas, chemicals
Exports - partners: Italy 17.7%, France 13.1%, Germany 11.9%, Netherlands 8.5%, Switzerland 6.1%, Spain 6%, Greece 4.8%, Austria 4.3% (2014)
Imports: $16.08 billion (2014 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery, semi-finished goods, food, transport equipment, consumer products
Imports - partners: Italy 15.1%, China 12.3%, Turkey 11.8%, Egypt 5.7%, South Korea 5.1%, Tunisia 4.7%, Spain 4.4% (2014)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $105 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Debt - external: $3.904 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $17.43 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $24.68 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Exchange rates: Libyan dinars (LYD) per US dollar - 1.281 (2014 est.), 1.272 (2013 est.), 1.26 (2012 est.), 1.224 (2011 est.), 1.2668 (2010 est.)
economic climate  
Background: Libya’s economic performance in recent years has been poor, as a result of sanctions, low oil prices, economic inefficiencies, excessive state intervention in the economy, and corruption.
The manufacturing sector is large, but its competitiveness and efficacy is affected by strong state economic intervention and by aging technology and processes. Libya has capabilities in areas such as chemicals, mining, minerals processing, and construction materials. Unemployment is estimated at 25-30 per cent (a figure that would be much higher if underemployment was also included), and inflation (consumer prices) at 15-18 per cent. The country’s external accounts vary, often according to oil prices, but the Government typically runs a large budget deficit.
The country was impacted by United Nations (UN) sanctions during much of the 1990s, stemming from Libya’s refusal to hand over two suspects in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which was destroyed in 1989 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The United States retains some sanctions against Libya, but the UN ones – including bans on international flights and aircraft spare parts – have been removed. The sanctions limited the ability to import luxury goods or non-essentials, although as the country increasingly returns to the international fold, and its trade and living standards rise, its consumption and import demands are likely to become more sophisticated.
Export opportunities:  
Update: This page was last updated on 10 November 2015
Sources: CIA, The World Factbook, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ae.html
http://www.austrade.gov.au
DIBNC Experts Team