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    Lebanon Economy 1997

      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 MiddleEastern entrepot and banking hub. Peace has enabled the central governmentto restore control in Beirut, begin collecting taxes, and regain access tokey port and government facilities. Economic recovery has been helped by afinancially sound banking system and resilient small- and medium-scale manufacturers,with family remittances, banking services, manufactured and farm exports,and international aid as the main sources of foreign exchange. Lebanon's economyhas made impressive gains since Prime Minister HARIRI launched his $18 billion"Horizon 2000" reconstruction program in 1993. Real GDP grew 8% in 1994 and7% in 1995 before Israel's Operation Grapes of Wrath in April 1996 stuntedeconomic activity. During 1992-96, annual inflation fell from more than 170%to 10%, and foreign exchange reserves jumped to more than $4 billion from$1.4 billion. Burgeoning capital inflows have fueled foreign payments surpluses,and the Lebanese pound has remained relatively stable. Progress also has beenmade in rebuilding Lebanon's war-torn physical and financial infrastructure.Solidere, a $2-billion firm, is managing the reconstruction of Beirut's centralbusiness district, the stock market reopened in January 1996, and internationalbanks and insurance companies are returning. The government nonetheless facesserious challenges in the economic arena. The government has had to fund reconstructionby tapping foreign exchange reserves and boosting borrowing. The stalled peaceprocess and ongoing violence in southern Lebanon could spawn wider hostilitiesthat would disrupt vital capital inflows. Furthermore, the gap between richand poor has widened since HARIRI took office, sowing grassroots dissatisfactionover the skewed distribution of reconstruction's benefits and leading thegovernment to shift its focus from rebuilding infrastructure to improvingsocial conditions.

      GDP purchasing power parity - $13 billion (1996 est.)

      GDP - real growth rate 3.5% (1996 est.)

      GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $3,400 (1996 est.)

      GDP - composition by sector
      agriculture: 13%
      industry: 28%
      services: 59% (1995 est.)

      Inflation rate - consumer price index 10% (1996 est.)

      Labor force
      total: 1 million plus as many as 1 million foreign workers
      by occupation: services 60%, industry 28%, agriculture 12% (1990 est.)

      Unemployment rate 20% (1996 est.)

      revenues: $1.9 billion
      expenditures: $3.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $1 billion (1995 est.)

      Industries banking; food processing; textiles, jewelry; cement, oil refining, chemicals,metal fabricating, wood products

      Industrial production growth rate NA%

      Electricity - capacity 1.22 million kW (1994)

      Electricity - production 4.75 billion kWh (1994)

      Electricity - consumption per capita 1,285 kWh (1995 est.)

      Agriculture - products citrus, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco, hemp (hashish); sheep,goats

      total value : $1 billion (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
      commodities: paper and paper products 26%, food stuffs 16%, textiles and textileproducts 10%, jewelry 8%, metals and metal products 8%, electrical equipmentand products 8%, chemical products 6%, transport vehicles 4% (1995)
      partners: Saudi Arabia 13%, Switzerland 12%, UAE 11%, Syria 9%, US 5%, Jordan5% (1995)

      total value: $7 billion (c.i.f., 1996 est.)
      commodities : machinery and transport equipment 28%, foodstuffs 20%, consumer goods19%, chemicals 9%, textiles 5%, metals 5%, fuels 3% (1995)
      partners: Italy 19%, France 13%, US 12%, Germany 11%, UK 6%, Belgium 5%, Turkey3% (1995)

      Debt - external $3 billion (1996 est.)

      Economic aid
      recipient: aid pledges of $3.5 billion for 1997-2001

      Currency 1 Lebanese pound (�L) = 100 piasters

      Exchange rates Lebanese pounds (�L) per US$1 - 1,550.8 (January 1997), 1,571.4(1996), 1,621.4 (1995), 1,680.1 (1994), 1,741.4 (1993), 1,712.8 (1992)

      Fiscal year calendar year

      NOTE: The information regarding Lebanon on this page is re-published from the 1997 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Lebanon Economy 1997 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Lebanon Economy 1997 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 06-Mar-02
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