Cleared checks down
for first time since 2012
Fall driven by sluggish real economy
The value of cleared checks in lira and foreign currencies fell by 6.6 percent to a total of LL104,858 billion ($70 billion) last year compared with 2014, according to the Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL).
The drop was 3.5 percent in terms of number of cleared checks, which totaled 12.5 million in 2015.
Marwan Barakat, Head of Research at Bank Audi, said this was the first drop since 2012 and is due to the sluggishness in the real economy, which was reflected in a weakening in private and public spending in 2015.
The economy experienced one of the slowest growth rates in a decade last year, with most real sector indicators reporting a net contraction, Barakat said.
The value of checks denominated in foreign currencies was $50.8 billion in 2015 and accounted for 73 percent of the total value of cleared checks. This compares with 75 percent of the total value in 2014, according to ABL figures.
The value of returned checks fell by 4.7 percent over the same period to LL2,305 billion ($1.54 billion), while their number dropped by 8.5 percent to nearly 235,000.
Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul
Date Posted: Jan 18, 2016