Lebanon’s Top 10 Exports

Lebanese flag (courtesy of FlagPictures.org)

Lebanese flag (FlagPictures)

A sovereign state in Western Asia precariously bordered by Syria and Israel, the Lebanese Republic shipped US$3 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2016. That dollar amount represents a -14.9% decline since 2009 when the Great Recession kicked in but a tiny 0.8% improvement from 2015 to 2016.

Lebanon’s top 10 exports accounted for 61.5% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Lebanon’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $87.9 billion as of October 2017 (on a purchasing power parity basis). Therefore, exported products represent an estimated 3.4% of total Lebanese economic output.

From a continental perspective, $1.4 billion or 45.9% of Lebanese exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 33.7% were sold to African importers. Lebanon shipped another 14.8% worth of goods to Europe while a smaller percentage at 2.5% arrived in North America.

Given Lebanon’s population of 6.2 million people, its total $3 billion in 2016 exports translates to roughly $480 for every resident in that country.

Trading Economics projects Lebanon’s unemployment rate to be 6.8% as of October 2017.

Lebanon’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Lebanese global shipments during 2016. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Lebanon. At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, gold is by far Lebanon’s top exported product followed by electric generating sets and converters then copper scrap.

  1. Gems, precious metals: US$828.3 million (27.8% of total exports)
  2. Machinery including computers: $169.9 million (5.7%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $163.7 million (5.5%)
  4. Plastics, plastic articles: $130.3 million (4.4%)
  5. Perfumes, cosmetics: $123.6 million (4.2%)
  6. Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $108.5 million (3.6%)
  7. Miscellaneous food preparations: $88.6 million (3%)
  8. Fruits, nuts: $73.5 million (2.5%)
  9. Books, newspapers, pictures: $72.9 million (2.4%)
  10. Copper: $72.5 million (2.4%)

Miscellaneous food preparations was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 199% for the 7-year period starting in 2009.

In second place for improving export sales was perfumes and cosmetics which rose by 174.2%.

Lebanese copper posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 41.8%.

The leading decliner among the top 10 Lebanese export categories was machinery including computers which fell by -36.2%.


Just four categories of Lebanese exported products generated positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports is the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: US$19.8 million (Down by -42.2% since 2009)
  2. Lead: $16 million (Up by 26.6%)
  3. Books, newspapers, pictures: $6 million (Down by -80.8%)
  4. Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $2.2 million (Reversing a -$1.4 million deficit)
  5. Miscellaneous animal-origin products: $777,000 (Up by 2254.5%)

Lebanon has highly positive net exports in the international trade of vegetable, fruit and nut preparations. In turn, these cashflows indicate Lebanon’s strong competitive advantages under the vegetable/fruit/nut preparations product category.


Overall, Lebanon incurred a -$15.7 billion product trade deficit for 2016 up by 23.4% since 2009.

Below are exports from Lebanon that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Lebanon’s goods trail Lebanese importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$3.7 billion (Up by 13.8% since 2009)
  2. Vehicles: -$1.7 billion (Down by -5.8%)
  3. Pharmaceuticals: -$1.2 billion (Up by 57.5%)
  4. Machinery including computers: -$928.8 million (Up by 13.3%)
  5. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$616.8 million (Up by 2.3%)
  6. Iron, steel: -$529.5 million (Up by 11.4%)
  7. Plastics, plastic articles: -$466 million (Up by 50.1%)
  8. Gems, precious metals: -$426.9 million (Down by -242.2%)
  9. Live animals: -$309 million (Up by 20.6%)
  10. Dairy, eggs, honey: -$286.1 million (Up by 17.1%)

Lebanon has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels including oil category particularly for refined petroleum oils and petroleum gases.


Lebanese Export Companies

Two regional banks headquartered in Lebanon rank among Forbes Global 2000 for 2016, namely Bank Audi and Blom Bank.

Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Lebanon. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Bonjus (juice)
  • Château Musar (winery)
  • IXSIR wine (winery)
  • Massaya (winery, distillery)
  • Middle East Airlines (airliner)
  • Tabbah (jewelry)

Lebanon’s capital city is Beirut.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Top Middle Eastern Export Countries, Saudi Arabia’s Top 10 Exports and Bahrain’s Top 10 Exports

Research Sources:
FlagPictures.org, Flag of Lebanon. Accessed on October 25, 2017

Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on October 25, 2017

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on October 25, 2017

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on October 25, 2017

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on October 25, 2017

The World Factbook, Middle East: Lebanon. Accessed on October 25, 2017

Wikipedia, Lebanon. Accessed on October 25, 2017

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Lebanon. Accessed on October 25, 2017

World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Beirut, Lebanon. Accessed on October 25, 2017