ECONOMY

Rubber checks on the increase

The market is bracing for a new record in bad checks and unpaid bills of exchange this year, as their combined amount in the first quarter of the year soared to over 580 million euros.

The problems in the market’s cash flow due to the financial crisis have brought about unprecedented problems in payments.

Data compiled by the Tiresias credit bureau showed on Friday that in the first three months of 2011 bounced checks totaled 517.5 million euros while unpaid bills of exchange came to 65 million euros.

In March alone there were 15,812 checks that bounced, totaling 163.2 million euros, while the 12,703 unpaid bills of exchange came to a total of 19.1 million euros. This meant an 8.2 percent annual rise in the value of bad checks, but also a 10.32 decline on a monthly basis.

In total, bounced checks and unpaid bills of exchange added up to 2.1 billion euros in 2010, a figure that is likely to be surpassed this year.