According to the data published by the Association of Lebanese Banks’ (ABL), the total number of cleared checks in the Lebanese financial system slumped from 3,139,881 checks by 2021 to 1,557,226 checks by end of 2022. However, the value of total cleared checks increased yearly by 2.79% to reach $37.43B by December 2022. This upsurge is driven by a significant increase in value of Lebanese checks which reflects a larger percentage of discounting Lebanese checks in the market.
As such, the value of checks in LBP increased remarkably from $18.63B in 2021 to reach $27.14B by end of year 2022, while value of checks in foreign currencies decreased significantly by 42.13% year on year (YOY) to reach $10.28B by December 2022.
Moreover, the volumes of cleared checks in Lebanese Pounds and foreign currencies witnessed significant yearly drops of 43.14% and 57.14% respectively to settle at 862,478 and 694,748 checks, by December 2022.
Accordingly, the dollarization of cleared checks in terms of value declined from 48.82% in December 2021 to 27.48% by December 2022. In the same token, the dollarization rate of checks in terms of volume fell from 51.62% in December 2021 to 44.61% in December 2022.
Notably, the number of returned checks fell substantially by 55.81% YOY to stand at 11,069 checks while the value of returned checks retreated by 34.70% YOY to reach $365M by December 2022.
Value of Cleared Checks by Currency, by December (in $B)
Source: ABL, BLOMINVEST