Dubai: Lebanon’s already tottering economy will incur more than $244 million in annual losses due to Saudi Arabia’s decision to halt all Lebanese imports, Okaz newspaper reported.
According to an official report of the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, Lebanese exports to Saudi Arabia accounted for 8.25 per cent of its total exports. The value of total Lebanese exports reached $3.54 billion, of which $243.7 million were to Saudi Arabia. The chamber sees the Saudi market as the largest market to achieve additional exports during in 2021.
On Friday, Saudi Arabia ordered the Lebanese ambassador to the Kingdom to leave within 48 hours and banned all Lebanese imports in response to critical comments made by the Lebanese Information Minister George Kurdahi about the Saudi-led coalition's to intervention in Yemen on behalf of the legitimate government of that country.
Following the announcement, Lebanese trade deficit is expected to rise sharply, and the Lebanese economy could continue to show weakness and stay in deficit.
In the beginning of this year, exports to Saudi Arabia amounted to $292.4 million, in addition to the presence of unexploited potential to achieve additional exports of $94.4 million.
The Lebanese currency has lost over 90 per cent of its value of the past two years. had to pay a big price for the ongoing political tensions and economic crisis in the country coupled with the latest developments.
A recent report by Bank Audi showed the second quarter of 2021 recorded a decline in the exchange rate of the Lebanese lira to its lowest levels, with the decline of the external assets of the Bank of Lebanon to $20.6 billion, while those assets at the end of last year 2020 were about $24.1 billion, equivalent to a loss of $3.5 billion, in light of the continuing deficit.