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Economic Performance

2016 was a positive year for Lebanon fuelled by a general level of optimism brought forward by the election of a President and the formation of a government. Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) flows to Lebanon jumped by the end of 2016 to reach 2.56 USD billion, a 2% increase from 2015 levels reflecting continuous confidence in our economy despite the many challenges faced by the region overall.


The economy was able to sustain positive growth figures albeit moderate compared to previous years supported by a continuous decrease in oil prices which helped reduce trade deficit and improve fiscal balance.


Some economic indicators witnessed an improvement in 2016 especially real estate and tourism activities. Tourists arrivals increased by 11.2% in 2016 to reach 1.6 million, the highest level since the onset of the regional turmoil, while the occupancy rate reached 59%, surpassing the 2011 rate. Furthermore, the real estate sector experienced an improvement reflected by a 2% increase in real estate transactions to reach 84,380 transactions in 2016.


The healthy Lebanese banking sector posted continued growth over the course of 2016, driven by strong deposit growth and a 44% increase  in financial inflows that led to a net surplus in the balance of payments of USD 1.2 billion for the first time since 2010. Deposits of customers of Lebanese commercial banks accounted for 314.6% of GDP in 2016, or the equivalent of USD 163 billion, increasing by 5.16% from 2015 levels and providing the needed liquidity levels to finance the economy’s needs in its private and public sectors.


On the monetary front, the Central Bank of Lebanon (BDL) was successful in achieving price and financial stability and maintaining confidence in the financial system through preserving high foreign currency reserves and favorable corporate tax rate. The central bank extended its loan subsidy program with an additional injection of USD 1 billion. Moreover, the BDL financially engineered a swap that was able to boost its gross foreign exchange reserves by 11.1% in 2016 to reach USD 34 billion.

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