2014’s sluggish economic performance failed to hinder checks activity that managed to progress in value despite the tightening of its volume. In details, the value of checks cleared by Banque du Liban rose by 3.1% year-on-year (y-o-y) during 2014 to reach $74.60B for a volume of 12.99M compared to 2013’s value of $72.35B for a volume of 12.24M.
Both volume and value of checks denominated in foreign currencies preserved their dominance by December 2014, representing 69.0% and 75.7% of the total, respectively. Foreign currency checks had seen their value rise by a yearly 2.1% to $56.44B, while their volume witnessed a 3.9% yearly downtick to 8.96M. As for national currency checks, they seemed to be gaining some role in 2014 as their volume and value rose by respective 4.3% and 6.6% y-o-y to 4.09M and $18.16B. Accordingly, the dollarization rate of checks’ value slipped to 75.65% compared to 76.44% recorded a year earlier, while that of volume went down from 70.41% in 2013 to 68.99% by the end of December 2014.
Worth noting that the rate of defaults which is the number of returned checks from the total number of checks, slightly declined to 1.98%, from 2.03% in the same period of 2013. Similarly, the default rate for the value of checks dropped to 2.24%, from 2.30% in 2013.
For the month of December alone, the value of cleared checks remained constant at $6.29B compared to December 2013, however at a marginally higher volume (a 0.88% yearly rise) of 1.13M. Finally, the value of checks denominated in foreign currencies slipped 0.76% y-o-y in December 2014 to reach $4.69B, while that of checks denominated in Lebanese pounds inched up by a yearly 2.35% in December 2014 to stand at $1.60B.