Now The Economist is now also parading Lebanon’s great achievements, which follows on a similar note left by Time Magazine 4 days ago.

LIKE shame-faced bankers the world over, managers at the Banque du Liban, Lebanon’s central bank, have had to admit that their initial figures for last year were wrong. But while number crunchers elsewhere toil to trim over-optimistic estimates into punier real results, statisticians at the Banque du Liban are revising theirs sharply upwards. Lebanon’s GDP grew during 2008, not at an annual rate of 7.5%, it seems, but at 9% or better.

Wow, Lebanon’s economy grew at a faster rate than expected. So that means, for the average Lebanese, absolutely nothing. Here are some additional numbers they throw at you:

…deposits in Lebanese commercial banks rose by 15%….
…Industrial exports surged 24%…
…Tax revenues, tourist arrivals, banking profits and the number of construction permits all soared by a third or more…
…A giant 46% leap in net capital inflows…
…Sales of new cars are up by 19%, and the number of tourists arriving in the country in the first three months of this year increased by 50% compared with the same period last year…

Incredible, right? But one has to be careful with percentages.

When you start off with a low number, a small increase can seem extremely large in percentage terms. How many industries do we have and what is their actual values in terms of exports? Not much. Same with the tourist numbers. Let’s not forget things were not going too well, security-wise, in early 2008. So a ‘jump’ in tourist levels is not a major surprise.