Lebanon's consumer confidence stagnated as 2018 expired

The results show that the Index regressed by 0.9 percent in October from the preceding month, declined by 0.8 percent in November and increased by 5.3 percent in December
by Georgi Azar

25 January 2019 | 13:58

Source: by Annahar

  • by Georgi Azar
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 25 January 2019 | 13:58

Lebanese protests gather in Beirut at the height of the trash crisis in 2015 (AP)

BEIRUT: Lebanon's Consumer Confidence stagnation continued into 2018's last quarter, with its index averaging 75.5 according to the Byblos Bank/American University of Beirut consumer confidence index (CCI).

The results show that the Index regressed by 0.9 percent in October from the preceding month, declined by 0.8 percent in November and increased by 5.3 percent in December, and was nearly unchanged from 75.3 in the third quarter of 2018. 

The stagnation was attributed to the "systematic obstruction of government formation" which is a key reason for the loss of confidence momentum. Lebanon has been without a fully functioning government for eights months, rattling both consumer and investor confidence. 

The lack of reforms on the part of lawmakers also played a role, said Chief Economist Nassib Ghobril, after "Lebanese citizens had high expectations that the various political parties would quickly form a government and implement concrete reforms to improve their quality of living and economic well-being."

Yet ongoing political bickering has stalled the government and plunged Lebanon into uncertainty, highlighting "that the behavior of most political parties hardly changed after the elections."

Meanwhile, the impact from the tax increases of 2017 are still being felt to this day, he noted, through "inflationary pressures, economic stagnation and higher cost of living.''

In addition, the Byblos Bank/AUB Present Situation Index averaged 66.7 in the fourth quarter of 2018 and increased by a marginal 1.1 percent from the preceding quarter, while the Byblos Bank/AUB Expectations Index averaged 81.4 and was nearly unchanged from the third quarter of 2018.

The Byblos Bank/AUB Consumer Confidence Index is a measure of the sentiment and expectations of Lebanese consumers toward the economy and their own financial situation.

The Index is compiled, implemented and analyzed in line with international best practices and according to criteria from leading consumer confidence indices worldwide.

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