Archive for Banks
Bank lending activity in the first 10 months of this year has seen a remarkable increase on last year.
According to Bank Audi, this high lending activity since the beginning of this year reflects both the large financial flexibility of Lebanese banks, and the vigorous economic activity that stimulated high domestic lending.
The Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL) recommended to its member banks to increase the Beirut Reference Rate in US dollars to 4.67% from 4.66% previously starting in December. The rate, considered as the reference rate for lending in foreign currency, replaced last year the London Inter-Bank Offering Rate (LIBOR) since the ABL considered that the LIBOR no longer accurately reflects the cost of funding and lending in Lebanon.
The Lebanese banks will gradually and moderately apply Basel III recommendations to reduce risk management, the head of the Association of Banks in Lebanon, Joseph Torbey, said Friday.
“We have applied most of the recommendations of Basel I and II over the past few years and we intend to do the same in Basel III with the help of the regulatory and monetary authorities,” Torbey said. These remarks came during a lunch hosted by the association in honor of high ranking Turkish delegation which is visiting Lebanon
The near-term outlook for growth of the Lebanese banking system appears strong, reflecting current buoyant economic conditions, according to research by Deutsche Bank. The research was published by Bank Audi.
“However, growth is likely to moderate somewhat over the next couple of years, as per the Bank, as GDP growth is forecast to slow to the 4-5 percent range,” the report said.
Figures released by the Beirut Stock Exchange indicate that total trading volume reached 161 million shares in the first 11 months of 2010, constituting an increase of 62.2% from the same period last year, while aggregate turnover amounted to $1.84bn, up 86% from a turnover of $989m in the same period last year. Market capitalization decreased by 1.6% to $12.4bn in the first 11 months of 2010, of which 71% was in banking stocks and 24.8% in real estate stocks. The bourse’s activity was artificially inflated in January due to the sale of regional investment bank EFG Hermes of its entire stake in Bank Audi sal during the month. It was also boosted this year from the sale of Byblos Bank of 47.6 million common shares to the International Finance Corporation and of 13.6 million common shares to Société de Promotion et de Participation pour la Cooperation Economique S.A. (PROPARCO).
Figures released by the Central Bank of Lebanon show that the number of credit and debit cards issued in Lebanon reached 1,703,126 cards at the end of September 2010, constituting a 4.5% increase from end-2009, and a 6% rise on a yearly basis.
Financial indicators of the top 12 banks operating in Lebanon showed moderate growth in activity in the first nine months of 2010, Bank Audi’s Lebanon Weekly Monitor, citing the alpha report issued by Bankdata Financial Services, reported.
The report stated that loans registered a substantial growth over the aforementioned period of this year, supporting earning growth in a period that witnessed relatively tough operating conditions.