According to the balance sheet of Banque du Liban (BDL), the central bank’s Total assets added 7.54% since year-start, to reach $152B in June 2020. The increase was mainly due to the 13.94% rise in gold prices since the start of the year to $1,726.3/ounce by Junw 2020. As a result the “Gold” account (composing 10.74% of BDL’s total assets) increased by 17.15% to $13.94B.
BDL’s Foreign assets (grasping 21.68% of total assets) decreased by 11.57% ($4.31B) to stand at $32.96B in June 2020. In details, starting May 27th, BDL began extending to commercial banks foreign currency to support imports of raw materials for industrial exporters including the agro-food industry, and of basic food imports. In turn, BDL’s Securities portfolio (25.46%of total assets) climbed to $38.7B, up by 1.87% year-to-date (YTD) in June 2020.
On the liabilities front, Financial sector deposits (73.82% of BDL’s total liabilities) recorded an uptick of 0.17% YTD to settle at $112.2B in June 2020. Notably, Currency in Circulation outside of BDL (8.42% of BDL’s total liabilities) rose from $7B end-December 2019 to $12.8B in June. This uptrend in circulated currency has been ongoing since the beginning of the year, as it continues to reflect clients’ strong preference for cash amid the growing uncertainty and feeble trust in the country. In addition, BDL’s circulars No.148 and 151 further supported and facilitated cash withdrawals, as the circulars allowed depositors with foreign currency accounts to withdraw their savings in Lebanese lira at close to the market rate.
BDL Total and Foreign Assets in June (in $B)
Source: BDL, BlomInvest Bank