That dollar amount results from a flatlining 0.8% upturn from five years earlier in 2018 when Lebanese exports were worth $3.83 billion.
Year over year, the value of overall exports from Lebanon fell -8.7% compared to $4.23 billion for 2021.
Lebanon’s top 5 most valuable exports are unmounted and unset diamonds, polyacetals, unwrought gold, jewelry, and iron or steel scrap. That subset of leading products represent almost a third (31.6%) of the total revenues for all Lebanese exported goods in 2022.
Lebanon’s Major Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 67.7% of products exported from Lebanon were bought by importers in: United Arab Emirates (23.3% of the Lebanese total), Syria (9.6%), Türkiye (4.5%), Egypt (4.4%), Iraq (4.2%), Switzerland (4.06%), United States of America (4.04%), Qatar (3.97%), South Korea (2.8%), Jordan (2.5%), Kuwait (2.24%) and France (2.24%).
From a continental perspective, almost three-fifths (58.3%) of Lebanon’s exports by value was delivered to Asian countries while 18.1% were sold to importers in Europe. Lebanon shipped another 16.3% worth of goods to buyers in Africa.
Smaller percentages went to North America (4.9%), Latin America (1.8%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.6%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Given Lebanon’s population of 6.8 million people, its total $3.86 billion in 2022 exports translates to roughly $700 for every resident in the Middle Eastern nation. That dollar average exceeds the per-capita $560 for 2021.
Lebanon’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Lebanese global shipments during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Lebanon.
- Gems, precious metals: US$808.8 million (20.9% of total exports)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $384.9 million (10%)
- Vehicles: $252.6 million (6.5%)
- Fruits, nuts: $201.7 million (5.2%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $184.8 million (4.8%)
- Machinery including computers: $176.7 million (4.6%)
- Iron, steel: $161.6 million (4.2%)
- Copper: $121.7 million (3.2%)
- Fertilizers: $114.7 million (3%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $105 million (2.7%)
Lebanon’s top 10 exports generated almost two-thirds (65.1%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Plastics, both as materials and items made from plastic articles, represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories via a 231.3% advance from 2021 to 2022.
In second place for improving export sales was fertilizers, via a 59.7% expansion.
Lebanon’s shipments of electrical machinery and equipment posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 35.9%.
The leading decliner among Lebanon’s top 10 export categories was fruits and nuts, pulled down by a -50.2% year-over-year drop.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, unmounted and unset diamonds (11.3% of Lebanon’s global total) represent the most valuable Lebanese export product for 2022. In second place were polyacetals (6.9%) trailed by unwrought gold (5.1%), jewelry (4.5%), iron or steel scrap (3.8%), cars (3.7%), copper scrap (3%), phosphatic fertilizers (2.9%), electric generating sets or converters (2.1%), then unwrought lead (1.4%).
Products Responsible for Lebanon’s Best Trade Surpluses
Itemized below are categories of Lebanese exported products that 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 represent 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.
- Fruits, nuts: US$95.6 million (Down by -70.6% since 2021)
- Fertilizers: $76.3 million (Up by 76.1%)
- Lead: $51.2 million (Up by 2.7%)
- Copper: $50.8 million (Down by -10.8%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $41.4 million (Down by -44.9%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $18.5 million (Down by -52.2%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $12.9 million (Down by -63.7%)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $1.9 million (Down by -17%)
- Railways, streetcars: $611,000 (Reversing a -$517,000 deficit)
- Miscellaneous animal-origin products: $280,000 (Reversing a -$150,000 deficit)
Lebanon has highly positive net exports in the international trade of grapes. In turn, these cashflows indicate Lebanon’s strong competitive advantages under the fruits and nuts product category.
Products Causing Lebanon’s Largest Trade Deficits
Lebanon incurred an overall -US$15.6 billion product trade deficit for 2022. That deficit reflects a 62.4% expansion from -$9.6 billion in red ink one year earlier in 2021.
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.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$5.8 billion (Up by 47% since 2021)
- Vehicles: -$1.6 billion (Up by 101.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$1.5 billion (Up by 186.9%)
- Gems, precious metals: -$870.8 million (Up by 352.6%)
- Machinery including computers: -$700.7 million (Up by 68.1%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$506.5 million (Down by -41%)
- Cereals: -$432.4 million (Up by 6.2%)
- Iron, steel: -$314.8 million (Up by 139.4%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$220.6 million (Up by 34%)
- Live animals: -$193 million (Down by -4.1%)
Lebanon has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels including oil category, notably for refined petroleum oils, petroleum gases and petroleum coke.
Lebanese Export Companies
Two regional banks headquartered in Lebanon rank among Forbes Global 2000, 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)
In macroeconomic terms, Lebanon’s total exported goods represent 5.1% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2022 ($82.1 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 5.1% ratio for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2022 compares to an estimated 4.8% for 2021. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Lebanon’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Lebanon’s unemployment rate averaged 12.6% for 2022, up from 12.5% one year earlier in 2021 according to Trading Economics.
Lebanon’s capital city is Beirut, nicknamed “Paris of the East”.
See also Grapes Exports by Country, Gold Exports by Country Plus Average Prices, Diamond Exports by Country and UAE’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook report on Middle East: Lebanon. Accessed on August 25, 2023
FlagPictures.org, Flag of Lebanon. Accessed on August 25, 2023
Forbes 2022 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 25, 2023
Foreign Trade , United States Census Bureau. Accessed on August 25, 2023
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on August 25, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 25, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 25, 2023
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on August 25, 2023
Wikipedia, Lebanon. Accessed on August 25, 2023
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Lebanon. Accessed on August 25, 2023
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on August 25, 2023
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Beirut, Lebanon. Accessed on August 25, 2023