BEIRUT: The value of cleared checks in the banking system, a coincident indicator of overall consumption and investment patterns in the economy, pointed to an increase in spending levels during the first six months of 2012. The value of total cleared checks rose by a yearly 2.0 percent during the first half of this year, compared to a slight increase of 0.2 percent in the first half of 2011. The total value of cleared checks amounted to $34.8 billion during the first six months of 2012, rising from a total of $34.1 billion posted in the same period of 2011. A breakdown by currency shows that banks’ clearings in Lebanese pounds amounted to LL10.88 trillion while those in U.S. dollars amounted to $27.57 million. The dollarization of cleared checks reported a slight increase from 79.1 percent in the first six months of 2011 to 79.2 percent in the first six months of this year.