Lebanon This Week 580

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Lebanon This Week 580

April 13, 2019
Lebanon This Week 580

Byblos Bank/AUB Consumer Confidence Index*
* Quarterly Average Score



Source: Byblos Bank Economic Research & Analysis Department, based on surveys conducted by Statistics Lebanon

  • Consumer confidence unchanged in first quarter of 2019
    The results of the Byblos Bank/AUB Consumer Confidence Index for the first quarter of 2019 show that the Index regressed by 10.4% in January 2019 from December 2018, increased by 13.6% in February and decreased by 2.5% in March 2019. Further, the Index averaged 75.5 in the first quarter of 2019 and was unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2018. The Byblos Bank/AUB Present Situation Index averaged 66.4 and the Byblos Bank/AUB Expectations Index averaged 81.6 in the first quarter of 2019, with the two sub-indices nearly unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2018. In addition, the average monthly score of the Index in the first quarter of 2019 was 28.7% lower than the quarterly peak score of 105.8 registered in the fourth quarter of 2008, and remained 22% below the annual peak of 96.7 reached in full year 2009. 

    Household sentiment was directly correlated to the political developments that took place in the first three months of 2019, as the January drop reflected the repeated false alerts about an imminent announcement of the new Cabinet. But the formation of the government at the end of January, after nine month of political deadlock, led the Index to jump in February. Further, the decline in March shows that Lebanese citizens consider that the government’s formation in itself is not sufficient, as citizens need to see concrete evidence and tangible solutions that would improve their economic well-being in order to raise and sustain their confidence level.

  • Expatriates' remittances to Lebanon up 2% to $7.2bn in 2018, 18th highest among developing economies
    The World Bank estimated the inflows of expatriates' remittances to Lebanon at $7.2bn in 2018, constituting an increase of 1.8% from $7.1bn in 2017, following a decline of 7% in 2017. In comparison, remittance inflows to developing countries grew by 9.6%, those to upper middle-income countries (UMICs) increased by 7.7% and inflows to Arab countries rose by 9.1% in 2018.

    Lebanon was the 24th largest recipient of remittances in the world and the 18th largest among 123 developing economies in 2018. Lebanon received more than the Dominican Republic ($6.8bn), Colombia ($6.4bn) and El Salvador ($5.46bn), and less remittances than Sri Lanka and Thailand ($7.46bn each) and Morocco ($7.37bn) among developing economies. Also, Lebanon was the sixth largest recipient of remittances among 50 UMICs, after China ($67.4bn), Mexico ($35.7bn), Guatemala ($9.6bn), Russia ($8.6bn) and Thailand ($7.5bn), and the third largest recipient among 16 Arab countries, behind Egypt ($28.9bn) and Morocco ($7.4bn).

    Further, expatriates' remittances to Lebanon were equivalent to 12.7% of GDP in 2018, which constituted the 17th highest such ratio in the world and among developing countries, as well as the second highest ratio, behind only Palestine (17.7%), among Arab countries. Expatriates' remittances to Lebanon were equivalent to 14.8% of GDP in 2016 and 13.3% of GDP in 2017. The World Bank estimated remittance inflows to Arab countries, excluding Syria, at $60.3bn in 2018, up from $55.1bn in 2017, and equivalent to about 2.8% of the region's GDP last year. 

  • Lebanon ranks in 10th place in Arab region in terms of digitization
    The Arab Advisors Group's Digital Index for 2018, which assesses the digitization levels of Arab countries, ranked Lebanon in 10th place among 14 Arab countries included in the survey. The index is a weighted average of four main pillars that are the "Smart Government" pillar with a weight of 40%, the "Digital Readiness" pillar (30%), the "Electronic & Mobile Payments" pillar (20%), and the "Economic & Education" pillar (10%). Each pillar is based on a number of indicators that measure the competitiveness level of Arab countries, and then ranks each country based on the level of digital awareness and adoption. The score of each country ranges from zero percent to 100%, with 100% reflecting the highest level of digitization.

    Lebanon received a score of 58.04%, which is lower than the Arab region's average score of 64%. Also, Lebanon's score was lower than the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) average score of 78%, but higher than the non-GCC Arab countries' average score of 53.5%. The digitization level in Lebanon was higher than in Egypt (56.4%), Iraq (52.4%), Algeria (49.4%) and Mauritania (30.3%). The UAE ranked first in the Arab region in terms of digitization with a score of 84.2%, while Mauritania came in last place. 

    Also, Lebanon ranked in seventh place among 19 Arab countries with available figures on the "Smart Government" pillar, which measures the implementation of innovative solutions that aim to simplify the lives of residents, including the latest adopted technologies in the information and telecommunications sectors. Lebanon came behind only Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Oman and Iraq on this pillar.

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