Lebanon saw a 38.7 percent rise in check clearing activity in the first quarter of 2010. According to figures released by the Association of Banks in Lebanon, total cleared checks came to $16.9 billion. The increase was attributed to a 43.1 percent surge in foreign currency denominated checks, 22.7 percent higher than in local currency.
Activity peaked in March, up by 56.6 percent on the same month last year, and 17.4 percent and 32.6 percent higher than January and February, respectively. The rise in foreign currency denominated checks has led to an increase in dollarization to some 80 percent in the first quarter versus 78.4 percent over the same period in 2009.