Total personnel costs rose by 4.39% in 2019 to $6.73 billion, up from $6.45 billion a year earlier, in light of the salary scale adjustments.
The value of cleared checks rallied by 28.37% on an annual basis to LBP 18,880 billion (distributed over 1,466,336 checks) in the first two months of 2020, in comparison with LBP 14,708 billion (allocated over 1,711,520 checks) during that same period in 2019.
Lebanon’s balance of trade deficit narrowed by $228.65 million on an annual basis to nearly $821 million during the first month of the current year, down from around $1,049 million during that same month last year.
<p> </p> The Lebanese Central Bank recently issued intermediary circular no. 547 concerning the facilities provided by the Central Bank to banks and financial institutions. The circular requires banks and financial institutions operating in Lebanon to extend on their own responsibility exceptional loans in local or foreign currency to existing clients who already benefit from different types of loans (including subsidized ones) and who are unable to honor their debt obligations for the months of March, April and May 2020 due to the current economic situation.
The Lebanese Ministry of Finance issued a press release on March 23, 2020 announcing that the government would be suspending all of its Eurobond payments in order to maintain the country’s foreign currency reserves.
According to a press release issued by Fitch Ratings on March 16, 2020, and following the sovereign’s default on a $1.2 billion Eurobond payment, the primary solvency risk to Lebanese banks is their high exposure to the Central Bank.