BEIRUT: HSBC said Lebanon is still managing to hold up fairly well despite some isolated incidents witnessed in the second quarter of the year and the deepening instability in neighboring countries. It added that the country appears no less stable than it was prior to the Arab Spring. In some aspects, Lebanon also continues to outperform its fellow MENA oil importers, it said in a report. High commodity prices in the first quarter have certainly affected it: Import spending was up by nearly 23 percent year-on-year over the first four months of 2012,” the report said. It added, however, that export also reported a double-digit growth, despite the troubled global demand climate, and bank claims on the resident private sector were up by more than 10 percent year-on-year at end-April 2012. HSBC said government revenues were also up and, although much of this growth came from one-off payments into the “other revenues” category, tax revenues were also up by a nearly 13 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2012.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 25, 2012, on page 5.