BEIRUT: The consolidated balance sheet of financial institutions operating in Lebanon rose by LL22.48 billion ($14.98 million) during the month of July to LL1.724,99 trillion, up from LL1.702.50 trillion in June. This is primarily due to the 3.13 percent expansion in claims on public sector to LL166.04 billion. On a yearly basis, the balance sheet of financial institutions was up by 6.72 percent, from LL1.616,39 trillion in July 2011. The number of financial institutions incorporated in Lebanon has widened from 29 in the year 2004 to 53 in the year 2011. On the lending front, claims on the private sector, which constitute the bulk (51.06 percent) of financial institutions’ assets, rose by 0.44 percent month-on-month to LL880.82 billion for the end of July 2012 – up from LL876.99 billion in June. On an annual basis, claims on the private sector came in 4.75 percent higher from last year’s LL840.85 billion.