Study: Ukraine War Expected to Have Bigger Impact on European Economies

 Ukrainian servicemen prepare to fire a M109 self-propelled howitzer towards Russian troops, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine September 22, 2023. (Reuters)
Ukrainian servicemen prepare to fire a M109 self-propelled howitzer towards Russian troops, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine September 22, 2023. (Reuters)
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Study: Ukraine War Expected to Have Bigger Impact on European Economies

 Ukrainian servicemen prepare to fire a M109 self-propelled howitzer towards Russian troops, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine September 22, 2023. (Reuters)
Ukrainian servicemen prepare to fire a M109 self-propelled howitzer towards Russian troops, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine September 22, 2023. (Reuters)

The war in Ukraine has reduced European economic growth and "considerably" pushed up inflation across the continent, the Swiss National Bank said in a study published on Friday, with worse effects still to come.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Europe has seen a surge in energy prices, financial market turmoil and a sharp contraction in the economies of both Russia and Ukraine, the report said.

Examining the war's economic impact on Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Switzerland, the study said output would have been between 0.1% and 0.7% higher in the fourth quarter of 2022 if Russia had not invaded Ukraine.

Consumer prices in each of the countries would have been between 0.2% and 0.4% lower, said the working paper, which aims to stimulate discussion and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the SNB.

"The negative consequences of the war are likely to be far greater in the medium-to-long term, especially with regard to the real economy," the study said.

"In one to two years, this effect is likely to be approximately twice as large," it added.

Germany was the worst affected, the study said. Its GDP would have been 0.7% higher and inflation would have been 0.4% lower in the fourth quarter of 2022 if Russia had neither attacked nor threatened Ukraine, the study said.

Britain was also hard hit, with economic output reduced by 0.7% and inflation increased by 0.2%.

France would have seen inflation 0.3% lower and GDP 0.1% higher without the conflict, while Italian inflation would have been 0.2% lower and GDP 0.3% higher.

Swiss GDP would have been 0.3% higher and inflation 0.4% lower without the war, the study added.

However, the authors said their estimates tended towards the low side because they "probably" underestimated food price inflation and looked at oil prices rather than gas prices.

The impact of refugees and increased military spending may be more than in recent conflicts, they added.



Lebanon Tourism Season Revives Economic Outlook

People are seen at the arrival lounge at Beirut International Airport, Lebanon. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
People are seen at the arrival lounge at Beirut International Airport, Lebanon. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Lebanon Tourism Season Revives Economic Outlook

People are seen at the arrival lounge at Beirut International Airport, Lebanon. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
People are seen at the arrival lounge at Beirut International Airport, Lebanon. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The surge in visitors to Lebanon during Eid al-Adha and high demand for summer concert bookings are boosting hopes for a revival in tourism.

This sector is crucial for reigniting positive economic growth after about nine months of challenging conditions due to the Gaza war and subsequent border clashes between Hezbollah and Israel in southern Lebanon.

Contrary to earlier fears this month of possible Israeli strikes inside Lebanon, Ali Hamieh, caretaker Minister of Public Works and Transport, reported a daily average of 14,000 arrivals at Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport, with numbers on the rise.

Jean Abboud, President of the Association of Travel and Tourism Agents, confirmed that despite initial concerns, booking rates have bounced back to 90-95% after Israeli threats of a mid-month strike. Most arrivals are Lebanese expatriates and foreign workers.

Before the summer season’s anticipated surge, Lebanon saw a 5.37% decrease in arrivals, with air traffic down by 9.34% and passenger numbers at Beirut International Airport dropping by 6.84% in the first five months of this year, totaling 2.29 million travelers compared to 2.46 million last year.

These declines were linked to the border clashes.

Lebanon’s tourism sector, generating over $5 billion annually in recent years, ranks as the country’s second most vital revenue stream after expatriate remittances, which officially approach $7 billion.

Together, they contribute more than half of Lebanon’s national income, which has dropped sharply from about $55 billion to under $22 billion due to the ongoing financial and currency crises that erupted five years ago.

Despite significant losses during peak tourism seasons like Christmas, Easter, and Eid al-Fitr, a report by Bank Audi indicated that Lebanon’s tourism revenues lost over $1 billion in the first six months of the Gaza conflict, driven by a 24% drop in tourist arrivals.

On average, tourists spend around $3,000 during their stay in Lebanon.