The value of cleared checks added 1.43% during the first two months of the year 2018, revealing a slight improvement in consumption levels. In fact, according to the Association of Banks (ABL), the number of checks cleared by Banque du Liban reached 1.93M worth $11.08B by February 2018, compared to a total of 1.91M checks valued at $10.93B registered a year earlier.
In details, the number and value of checks denominated in Lebanese Pounds (LBP) went up by a yearly 7.42% and 7.2% respectively, to reach 732,991 checks valued at $3.65B. Dollar transactions looked bleaker with the number and value of checks denominated in foreign currencies dropping by 2.9% year-on-year (y-o-y) and 1.18% y-o-y to 1.19B checks worth $7.43B, respectively.
As the total value of checks in foreign currencies declined by February 2018, the dollarization rate of checks retreated from 68.81% by February 2017 to 67.04%. Looking at returned checks which accounted for 2.12% of the total value of checks, their value climbed from $200M by Feb. 2017 to $235M by February 2018.
In the month of February alone, the number and value of cleared checks decreased by 1.67% and 1.1% from the same month of 2017, to attain 905,928 checks worth $5.16B in 2018. In fact, the value of checks denominated in foreign currencies (representing 67.36% of the total) edged down from February 2017 by 1.92% to $3.48B this year. Meanwhile, the value of checks in LBP added a marginal 0.63% to $1.69B in Feb. 2018. As such, the dollarization rate of cleared checks slipped in volume and value from 63.77% and 67.92% in Feb. 2017 to 61.76% and 67.36%, respectively, in Feb.2018. As for the number and value of returned checks, they rose by respective 16.94% and 25.55% y-o-y to 19,259 checks worth $114.1M over the period.
Value of Cleared Checks by February (in $Billions)