Belarus’ international reserves stabilise
According to the National Bank, on September 1st, Belarus’ gold and currency reserves totalled USD 6.29 billion.
Since August 2014, they have increased by USD 80 million due to small public debt payments and greater foreign currency demand on the local market. In September, Belarus is due to repay circa USD 350 mln in public debt, which could affect the international reserves. However, Belarus might increase her foodstuffs exports to Russia, and place a new issue of government bonds for enterprises. Net supply of foreign currency on the domestic market might reoccur. Meanwhile, a sharp intensification in corporate lending in BYR by the banking system might increase demand for foreign currency in order to purchase additional raw materials and equipment.
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.