Bad debts of industrial enterprises to Belarusian banks will be masked through bonds
Belarusian Steel Works has issued bonds with total worth USD 240.5 million for a five-year maturity period at 7% per annum in order to refinance outstanding loans to the Belarusian banks. With this operation the enterprise aimed to reduce service costs of previously issued loans and to repay possible arrears. Other enterprises with a significant debt load are likely to copy the Steel Works’ practice. Banks may force enterprises to transfer their debt into bonds, so that enterprises could use the saved money to repay debts, including on taxes and duties, and for energy. The main risk in such a practice is that banks’ foreign currency accounts could be frozen if the population continues to withdraw its currency deposits, which may require additional resources from the parent banks and foreign markets.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.