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IMF forecast of Real GDP growth for Lebanon in 2013 and 2014

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued its latest edition of the World Economic Outlook in which it revised slightly downward Lebanon's real GDP growth for 2012 and 2013 while maintaining the same rate for 2014. Accordingly, the country's economic activity grew by 1.5% in real terms in 2012 compared with a previous forecast of 2.0%. It would increase by 2.0% in 2013 (previously 2.5%) and by 4.0% in 2014 (unchanged from the October 2012 World Economic Outlook edition).

According to the IMF, downside risks remain elevated for oil importers, largely as the result of domestic and regional political instability and social unrest. Several governments in the region are transitional, and continued political instability could further delay policy action to maintain macroeconomic stability and aid the recovery. In addition, there is a risk that the conflict in Syria could mean more complications for neighbouring countries such as Jordan and Lebanon. The latest forecast showed that oil importers would post a real GDP growth of 2.7% in 2013 against 1.9% in 2012.

With regards to other economic data on Lebanon, the Fund estimated that the country's nominal GDP rose from USD 39.0 billion in 2011 to USD 41.3 billion in 2012 (against USD 41.8 billion in the previous edition). It would reach USD 43.8 in 2013 (USD 44.4 billion previously) and USD 46.7 billion in 2014 (USD 47.1 billion previously). Lebanon's GDP per capita estimates stood at USD 9,856 in 2011, USD 10,311 in 2012, USD 10,793 in 2013 and USD 11,348 in 2014.

Pertaining to the average inflation rate, that of 2011 remained unchanged at 4.985% while those of 2012, 2013 and 2014 were revised slightly upward. For 2012, it is estimated to have reached 6.573% compared with 6.508% in the previous edition. It would attain 6.659% and 2.393% in 2013 and 2014 against previous expectations of 5.664% and 1.998%, respectively.

At the level of fiscal accounts, the fund's data showed that revenues accounted for 23.5% of GDP in 2011, then moved slightly downward to 23.4% in 2012. IMF foresees a ratio of 23.3% in 2013 and 23.8% in 2014. As to fiscal expenditures, they made up 29.6% of GDP in 2011, then increased to 32.4% in 2012. The ratio of fiscal expenditures-to-GDP would rise to 33.0% in 2013 and then move slightly down to 32.8% in 2014.

Overall, Lebanon's fiscal deficit would sink deeper into the negative territory in 2013 then slightly ease in 2014. Accordingly, it would account for 9.7% of GDP in 2013 and 8.9% of GDP in 2014 against respective ratios 8.297 and 8.011% in the October 2012 edition.  

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