Figures released by the Ministry of Industry show that industrial exports totaled $527.1m in the first two months of 2012, constituting an increase of 10.6% from $476.6m in the same period last year. Industrial exports reached $288.4m in February 2012, up 20.8% from $238.7m in January 2012 and up 17.7% from $245.1m in February 2011. Pearls & precious or semi-precious stones accounted for $175.9m, or 33.4% of total industrial exports in the first two months of the year, followed by base metals & articles of base metals with $80.2m (15.2%), and machinery and mechanical appliances with $70m (13.3%). Arab countries accounted for 36.3% of total industrial exports in February, followed by African countries with 31.5%, European countries with 21.3%, and Asian countries with 7.9%. In parallel, industrial imports reached $42.2m in the first two months of the year, up 19% from the same period in 2011. Italy was the main source of such imports and accounted for 19.1% of the total. It was followed by China with 18.9% and Germany with 11.6%. Further, imports of industrial equipment and machinery reached $18.7m in February 2012, decreasing by 1.6% year-on-year. China was the main source of imports of industrial equipments, accounting for 23.3% of the total, followed by Italy with 21.7% and Germany with 11.3%.
Byblos Bank – Lebanon This Week