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World Bank Expects Lebanon's Economic Growth to Pick up to 4.5% in 2013

The World Bank projected economic growth in Lebanon at 3.6% in 2012, compared to growth of 2.4% in the Middle East & North Africa, 2.2%

for the region's economies that are poor in resources and abundant in labor, 2.5% for the global economy and 5.3% in developing countries.

Lebanon's projected growth rate for 2012 would make it the second fastest growing economy among 10 countries in the MENA region, behind Iraq with growth of 11.1%. The 10 countries exclude the GCC economies. The Bank expected Lebanon's economic growth to pickup to 4.5% in 2013, posting the third fastest growth rate among the 10 economies, behind Iraq at 13.5% and Morocco at 5%.

 

Further, the World Bank forecast Lebanon's current account deficit at 18.2% of GDP in 2012 relative to 23% of GDP last year, widest in the region, and compared to a surplus of 1.8% of GDP for the region this year. The Bank said that the spillovers of the Syrian crisis to Lebanon are increasingly weighing on Lebanon's service-based economy.

 

The Bank noted that economic activ ity in Lebanon is softening this year; but considered that it may recover in 2013 and 2014 in case capital inflows from the GCC, such as remit- tances, FDI and financial assistance, accelerate due to the oil windfall. However, it cautioned that tourism activity is likely to suffer over the foreseeable future until the political situation improves regionally.

 

In parallel, the World Bank estimated economic growth in Lebanon at 3% in 2011, down from 7% in 2010 and compared to growth of 2.1% in the MENA region and 1% for countries in the region with poor resources and abundant labor. Lebanon was the third fastest growing economy among 10 MENA countries in 2011, behind Iraq at 9.9% and Morocco at 4.3%. It also estimated Lebanon's current account deficit at 23% of GDP in 2011, up from 19.3% of GDP in 2010 and compared to a surplus of 3.4% of GDP for the region.

 

Source: Lebanon This Week, Byblos Bank economic publication

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