Currencies by Country:

What is the Lebanese pound (LBP)?

Credit Ratings & Outlook

In the latest credit ratings from December 1970, Moody's gives Lebanon a B1 rating, with a stable outlook. Fitch has a stable outlook with a B rating. Finally, S&P last issued a B rating, with a stable outlook.

Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining a country’s access to international capital markets, and the terms of that access. Sovereign ratings help to foster dramatic growth, stability, and efficiency of international and domestic markets.

GDP

In 2010 the total GDP was $39,006,223,284 in US Dollars, while the per capita GDP was $9,227. It grew by 7.00% over the previous year.

Unemployment

The latest unemployment rate for 2009 is 9.99%.

Consumer Price Index

The latest consumer price index for 2010 is 105.22.

Political Structure

The current head of the government is Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and the head of state is President Michel Suleiman (in a ceremonial role).

Currency Details

The Lebanese pound, denoted by the ISO code LBP, is the official currency of Lebanon. The pound is known as the Lira in Arabic, as that is the Arabic translation. Prior to World War I, the Ottoman Lira was the official currency in Lebanon. In 1918 after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the currency became the Egyptian Pound. Upon gaining control of Syria and Lebanon, the French sought to replace the Egyptian pound with a new currency for Syria and Lebanon, which was linked to the Franc. In 1937, Lebanon got its own currency, still linked with the French Franc, and interchangeable with Syrian money. In 1941, following France’s defeat by Nazi Germany, the currency was linked instead to the British Pound sterling. Coins in current use include denominations of 50, 100, 250 and 500 pounds (though the first two are rarely used). Banknotes come in values of 1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 pounds.

Moody’s Rating
B1, 13 Apr 2010
S&P Rating
BB-

Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining a country’s access to international capital markets, and the terms of that access. Sovereign ratings help to foster dramatic growth, stability, and efficiency of international and domestic markets.

What does it look like?

Political Structure

Lebanon is a republic consisting of three branches of government: the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. An important component of the government is that the three highest offices are reserved for members of specific religious groups: the President must be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister must be a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of Parliament must be a Shia Muslim (this arrangement is part of an unwritten agreement entitled the “National Pact,” which was established in 1943 during meetings between Lebanon’s first president (a Maronite) and its first prime minister (a Sunni). The National Pact was formalized in the Constitution in 1990). The parliament composition is based on more ethnic and religious identities rather than ideological features; the distribution of parliament seats has been recently modified. The Parliament elects the President of the republic to a six-year term. Consecutive terms for the president are forbidden, though this rule has been bypassed twice in recent history at the urging of the Syrian government. The President appoints the Prime Minister per nomination of the Parliament. Lebanon’s judicial system is based on the Napoleonic Code. Juries are not used in trials. The Lebanese court system has three levels: courts of first instance, courts of appeal, and the court of cassation. There is also a system of religious courts having jurisdiction over personal status matters within their own communities, ruling on matters such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance. Lebanese law does not provide for Civil marriage , however does recognize such marriages contracted abroad.

Prominent Figures

Chief of State President Michel SULAYMAN (since 25 May 2008)
Head of Government Prime Minister Sa’ad al-Din al-HARIRI (since 9 November 2009); Deputy Prime Minister Elias MURR (since 9 November 2009)
Cabinet Cabinet chosen by the prime minister in consultation with the president and members of the National Assembly
Elections president elected by the National Assembly for a six-year term (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held 25 May 2008 (next to be held in 2014); the prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president in consultation with the National Assembly
Election Results Michel SULAYMAN elected president; National Assembly vote – 118 for, 6 abstentions, 3 invalidated; 1 seat unfilled due to death of incumbent

Key Economic Factors

Economic Overview:

The 1975-91 civil war seriously damaged Lebanon’s economic infrastructure, cut national output by half, and all but ended Lebanon’s position as a Middle Eastern entrepot and banking hub. In the years since, Lebanon has rebuilt much of its war-torn physical and financial infrastructure by borrowing heavily – mostly from domestic banks. In an attempt to reduce the ballooning national debt, the Hariri government began an austerity program, reining in government expenditures, increasing revenue collection, and privatizing state enterprises. In November 2002, the government met with international donors at the Paris II conference to seek bilateral assistance in restructuring its massive domestic debt at lower rates of interest. Substantial receipts from donor nations stabilized government finances in 2003, but did little to reduce the debt, which stood at nearly 180% of GDP . In 2004 the Hariri government issued Eurobonds in an effort to manage maturing debt, and the Karami government has continued this practice. However, privatization of state-owned enterprises had not occurred by the end of 2004, as promised during the Paris II conference.

Key Industries:

Banking, food processing, jewelry, cement, textiles, mineral and chemical products, wood and furniture products, oil refining and metal fabricating.

Agricultural Products:

Citrus, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco, sheep and goats.

Import Commodities:

Petroleum products, cars, medicinal products, clothing, meat and live animals, consumer goods, paper, textile fabrics and tobacco.

Export Commodities:

Authentic jewelry, inorganic chemicals, assorted consumer goods, fruit, tobacco, construction minerals, electric power machinery, switchgear, textile fibers and paper.

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