The Lebanese pound entered the New Year in calmingly unspectacular fashion, similar to the way it ended the last. With little news around and government economic policy still in the very early stages of implementation, interbank trading saw the local currency steady at around LP1,511-13, with the Central Bank staying firmly on the sidelines.
Purchase subscriptions of TBs fell notably at the December 28 auction, shedding 52.06 percent to land at LP209.36 billion ($138.88 million) while maturing bills lost 54.04 percent to drop to LP156.96 billion ($104.12 million), thus causing the surplus of subscriptions over maturities to reach one of its lowest levels in a long time at LP52 billion ($34.8 million).
No external demand was registered on TBs, with local banks remaining almost exclusively the sole buyers. Banks have been rolling-over maturing bills, with their interest strongly focused on longer-term TBs as the 24-M TB’s share of subscriptions rose to 56.39 percent from 40.13 percent a week before and that of the 12-M TB losing almost 3 percentage points to 25.35 percent. The shorter-term 6-M and 3-M maturities represented a total of 18.36 percent of purchases, down 5 percentage points from last week’s figures. There was no interest in the BDL’s LP certificates of deposit this week due to lack of demand. — ( Banque du Liban et d'Outre-Mer Sal )
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )