Lebanon This Week 578

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Lebanon This Week 578

March 30, 2019
Lebanon This Week 578

Average Price of 1GB Mobile Data in Arab Countries in 2018 (US$)

Source: Cable.co.uk, Byblos Research 


  • Cost of mobile data in Lebanon is 72nd highest globally, fifth most expensive among Arab countries in 2018
    The Worldwide Mobile Data Pricing survey published by Cable.co.uk ranked Lebanon in 72nd place among 230 countries around the world and in fifth place among 20 Arab countries in terms of the cost of one gigabyte (1GB) of mobile data in 2018. Lebanon also came in 14th place among 53 upper middle-income countries (UMICs) included in the 2018 survey. 

    Cable.co.uk compiled the figures from 6,313 mobile data plans across the world between October 23 and November 28, 2018. The average cost of 1GB per month in a country is the simple average of all qualified plans sampled in that country, either in the country's own currency or in the currency that mobile data providers use to advertise their prices. All prices are then converted to US dollars for comparison purposes.

    The average cost of 1GB of mobile data in Lebanon was $9.21 per month in 2018, which is higher than the global average cost of $8.53 per month, the UMICs' average cost of $8.2 per month, as well as the Arab region's average cost of $6.76 per month. Also, Lebanon's average cost of 1GB was higher than the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) average cost of $6.1 per month and the non-GCC Arab countries' average cost of $7.05 per month. The cost of 1GB of mobile data in Lebanon ranged between $1.3 per month and $20 per month in 2018. In parallel, India is the cheapest country in the world for mobile data, where the average cost of 1GB was $0.26 per month in 2018. In contrast, Zimbabwe is the most expensive country worldwide to buy mobile data, as the average cost of 1GB reached $75.2 per month last year.

  • Lebanon has 43rd lowest retail gasoline prices and 33rd lowest diesel prices in the world
    Figures issued by the German development agency GIZ show that the retail price of gasoline in Lebanon was the 43rd lowest among 179 countries globally, but came as the sixth highest among 19 Arab countries included in the survey. The retail price of gasoline in Lebanon was $0.88 per liter as of mid-November 2018 compared to $0.74 per liter in November 2016. The retail price of gasoline in Lebanon was similar to prices in Azerbaijan and the U.S. It was higher than prices in Botswana and Uzbekistan ($0.87 per liter each), and Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Trinidad & Tobago ($0.86 per liter each), while it was lower than retail prices in Suriname ($0.91 per liter), Guatemala ($0.9 per liter) and Chad ($0.89 per liter). Regionally, the retail price of gasoline in Lebanon was lower than prices in Palestine ($1.71 per liter), Djibouti ($1.69 per liter), Jordan ($1.5 per liter), Mauritania ($1.21 per liter), and Morocco ($1.18 per liter).

    In parallel, the retail price of diesel in Lebanon was the 33rd lowest globally, and the eighth highest regionally. The retail price of diesel in Lebanon was $0.69 per liter at mid-November 2018 compared to $0.47 per liter in November 2016. GIZ compiles retail prices of gasoline and diesel in 179 countries every two years.

    GIZ classified countries in one out of four categories that are "High Subsidies", "Subsidies", "Taxation" and "High Taxation", depending on each country's fuel price-related policy. It indicated that fuel prices in the United States, at $0.88 per liter, tend to cover the average cost of one liter of gasoline that includes industry margin, value-added tax and sales tax, among other costs. As a result, countries that have gasoline prices of $0.88 per liter or more must have adopted a non-subsidized policy for gasoline, and would be classified under the "Taxation" category, while they would fall under "High Taxation" category when retail gasoline prices are above $1.25 per liter. Consequently, with a price of $0.88 per liter, Lebanon came in the "Taxation" category. Also, Lebanon came in the "Subsidies" category in terms of its retail price of diesel, given that the retail price of diesel in Lebanon is less that the average cost-covering price of $0.88 per liter globally. Prices of diesel in this category range between $0.41 per liter and $0.87 per liter.

  • Insurance premiums up by 4% to $1.7bn in 2018
    The annual survey by Al-Bayan magazine of the insurance sector in Lebanon indicates that overall life and non-life premiums reached $1.71bn in 2018, constituting an increase of 3.6% from $1.65bn in the previous year, compared to a growth rate of 3.8% in 2017. Life premiums accounted for 31.7% of aggregate premiums in 2018 relative to 31.5% in 2017, while non-life premiums represented 68.3% of the total last year compared to 68.5% in 2017. 

    Byblos Bank's insurance affiliate ADIR generated $77.4m in premiums in 2018, up by 6.2% from 2017. The composition of the top 20 insurers was unchanged from 2017. Fidelity Assurance & Reinsurance moved up by four spots in the rankings, the rank of Cumberland Insurance improved by three spots, the rankings of AXA Middle East and Securité Assurance improved by two spots each, and the rank of SGBL Insurance moved up by one spot in 2018. In contrast, the ranking of ALIG regressed by four spots last year, Medgulf's rank regressed by three spots and the rankings of Arabia Insurance, Arope, Assurex, Libano Suisse Insurance and Bancassurance declined by one spot each from 2017. In parallel, ADIR maintained its ranking as the 11th largest insurer in the country.

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