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Lek money supply with the weakest growth since the beginning of 2019
Written by SOT.COM.AL 4 Dhjetor 2023
The money supply in Lek is currently showing the weakest growth in almost five years. The data of the Bank of Albania show that at the end of October, the annual growth of the M2 aggregate on an annual basis was at the level of 1.87%. This growth rate is the lowest recorded since February 2019, while it is the weakest money supply growth recorded in the post-pandemic period.
The monetary aggregate M2 represents the value of bank deposits in lek, included in the definition of broad money and money outside banks, approximating the value of the monetary supply in local currency.
Aggregate M2 growth peaked in late 2020 and early 2021, with annual growth rates close to 14%. After this period, the growth of this aggregate gradually slowed down and at the end of 2021 it decreased to the level of 6.5%.
However, during the past year the growth of the money supply slowed down further, influenced in parallel by the initiation of the normalization of the monetary policy by the Bank of Albania, but also by a rather restrictive fiscal policy followed by the Albanian government.
In the last two years, the budget has been in surplus most of the time, with the exception of December 2022. This year, the budget surplus has reached new records, touching the level of 51 billion lek in September, to be decreased slightly to ALL 48 billion at the end of October.
The high budget surplus and the tight supply of money in the local currency is also putting pressure on the liquidity of the banking sector in the local currency. Statistics show that at the end of October, the loan through reverse repurchase agreements (REPO) reached ALL 62.5 billion, the highest value ever reported by the central bank. In relation to the same period a year ago, the reported value of financing the banking sector with REPO is increasing by almost 41%.
The weak monetary supply of the lek is one of the factors that has brought the fall of the euro-lek exchange rate to the lowest historical levels during 2023. According to the official exchange rate of the Bank of Albania, the euro was exchanged on Thursday at 101.92 lek, down by 0.51 ALL compared to the end of last week. This is the lowest level of the euro-lek exchange rate since August 1. In the last month, the Euro-lek exchange rate has fallen by 3.4%, while compared to the same period a year ago, the fall has reached 12.8%.
In addition to the high supply of euros, the drop in the exchange rate is also explained by the lack of lek in the foreign exchange market. Sources from the market state that banks no longer offer preferential exchange rates for the purchase of euros even for large businesses, with the argument that they have plenty of euros and retail lek./Monitor