Despite reporting a slight contraction during January 2015, Lebanon’s banking sector remains strong with high fiscal performance, reports Lebanon-based Eliktisad citing a report.
According to the Lebanon Economic Report released by Bank Audi, deposits recorded a decline by $273 million in January 2015, compared to a decline by $1.3 billion in January 2014.
Customer deposits rose by 6.9 per cent between January 2014 and January 2015, which is a higher ratio than the minimum one required to meet the domestic needs of the economy in the public and private sector.
Loans granted to the private sector also declined by $360m, which points to a lack of local and regional lending opportunities by banks.
However, on an annual basis, loans grew by 7.5 per cent, underpinned by an incentives package offered by the central bank.
The decline in loans coincides with an increase in the liquidity in the banking sector, for the third consecutive month.
The liquidity in foreign currency recorded 42.4 per cent in January 2015, compared to 40.4 per cent in October in 2014.
Non-performing loans accounted for 3.6 per cent of total loans and 71 per cent allocations to cover loan losses.
Shareholders’ equity accounted for nine per cent of the value of the assets.
The banking sector is one of the major underpinnings of the Lebanese economy and managed to sustain growth despite regional turmoil and global financial shocks.
According to a report by Byblos Bank issued in September last year, the total assets of commercial banks operating in Lebanon reached $169.7bn at the end of July 2014.