The consolidated balance sheet of Lebanon’s commercial banks revealed a progress in total assets from February 2016’s level of $186.6B to $204.9B in February 2017, reflecting a 10% year-on-year (y-o-y) growth.
In details, total reserves grew by 23% over the period to reach $88.4B, which was mainly due to deposits with the Central bank rising from $71.13B in February 2016 to $87.9B this year due to the Swap operation conducted by the Central Bank during the second half of last year. Claims on the private sector summed up to $57.0B in February 2017, of which around 90% were provided to resident borrowers. Private loans denominated in foreign currencies (FC) ticked up by a slight 0.7% from February 2016 to $41.1B by February 2017. However, the continuing stimuli of the Central Bank, and especially the recent housing incentive, were mainly behind the 16% jump in private claims in Lebanese Pound to $15.9B. In turn, the dollarization rate of private sector loans slipped from 74.77% in February 2016 to 72.06% in February this year. Furthermore, claims on the public sector posted a 5% yearly slip to $36.4B by February 2017, while foreign assets almost steadied in February 2017 as it recorded a 1% progress to $23.40B.
Looking at the liabilities of commercial banks, private sector deposits ticked up by 8.2% between February 2016 and February this year to register $163.9B. In fact, local currency deposits experienced a 4.5% improvement to $55.9B, while deposits in foreign currencies edged up by 10.2% y-o-y to $108B. Moreover, the recent Swap operation was mainly behind the rise in the dollarization rate of total private sector deposits that went from 64.7% in February 2016 to 65.9% by the end of February this year.
Total Commercial Banks’ Assets by February (in $B)