The latest figures released by the Association of Banks (ABL) revealed that the total value of cleared checks lost a yearly 16.3% to stand at $27.5B in the first six months of the year. By the same token, the total number of checks declined by 13.84% year-on-year (YOY) to settle at 5.06M checks over the same period.
A breakdown of the statistics shows that the value of checks denominated in Lebanese Pounds contracted by 3% YOY to $10.3B while the number of checks climbed lost 1.95% YOY to 2.23M checks. Meanwhile, for checks denominated in foreign currency (mainly USD), their number and value fell from 3.6M checks worth $22.2B in H1 2018 to 2.8M checks worth $17.2B in H1 2019. Accordingly, the dollarization rate of cleared checks retreated in volume and value, from 61.25% and 67.63% by June 2018 to 55.9% and 62.5%, respectively, in H1 2019.
In addition, the number of returned checks recorded a marginal uptick of 0.47% YOY to stand at 130,659 checks by June 2019, while the value of these checks slipped by an annual 6.5% YOY to $700.5M over the same period.
In the month of June alone, it is worthy to note that the number and value of cleared checks fell by 13.56% YOY and 20.74% YOY, to attain 797,796 checks worth $4.08B in June 2019. In details, the value of checks denominated in foreign currencies (61.26% of total checks’ value) fell from $3.5B in June 2018, to $2.5B this June 2019 while the number of foreign checks slipped by 22.6% YOY to 430,699 checks. Meanwhile, the value of checks in LBP decreased by 5.85% YOY, to $1.6B in June 2019 as the number of LBP checks incrementally rose by 0.11% YOY to 367,0197 checks over the same period. As such, the dollarization rate of cleared checks slipped in volume and value from 60.27% and 67.39% in June 2018 to 54% and 61.3%, respectively, in June 2019. As for the number of returned checks, it fell by 2.26% YOY to 19,627 checks while their value correspondingly decreased by 21.6% YOY to $94.2M over the same period.