Lebanon Imports Decreased By Half In 2020

Lebanon Has Imported 50% Less This Year Than In 2019
AP

Expectedly, the prevailing economic crisis has vastly changed the lifestyle of the average Lebanese. The luxuries that were once easily affordable and generally accessible have become, for many, impossible to enjoy.

One indication for this new reality is the notable decline in the import of commodities generally categorized as unessential for daily life.

Of the past 4 years, 2016 was the worst year in terms of imports. That year, the country recorded around $19.1 billion of imports, whereas the highest recorded value over the same period was in 2018 with close to $20 billion ($19.9 billion).

By the end of 2020, this number is expected to have fallen sharply, by around 50%, to an estimated $10.9 billion.

Statistical researcher Abbas Tfaili told Al-Joumhouria that this sharp decline is mostly related to the significant decrease in fuel imports ($3 billion) and expendable luxuries ($6 billion).

Among these luxuries are diamonds, yachts, cars, air conditioners, electronics, tobacco, alcohol, and phones.

A decline has also been observed in the import of some essentials in the medical sector, including medical imaging devices. Medicinal drugs, on the other hand, have maintained their annual average, according to Tfaili.

With that in mind, it’s worth noting that the shortage of some medicines in Lebanese pharmacies is caused by the rationing imposed by the traders, who are exploiting subsidies to gain profit by selling the drugs for unusually high prices.

Notably, the statistics show that the import of foodstuffs, especially subsidized food commodities, has not seen a noteworthy change this year, the expert pointed out.

Additionally, more recently, there’s been a noted increase in glass and aluminum imports, due to their high demand after the Beirut Port explosion last month.

However, this “security” in food imports will be short-lived unless the economic decline is halted quickly.

More than half of the Lebanese people have already fallen under the poverty line, and more will follow suit if the country is left in its current state of freefall.