Belarus risks devaluation due to IMF forecast of dwindling gold reserves by year-end
According to the IMF forecast, Belarus’ international reserve assets may drop to USD 2.5 billion or 0.8 months worth of imports by late 2015. It is noteworthy that devaluation in 2009 and 2011 occurred when the level of gold reserves fell below one-month worth of imports. In order to prevent devaluation the government may undertake the following measures: carry out wage freeze policy in order to preserve net sales of foreign currency on the domestic foreign exchange market; step-up its talks with international creditors in order to place new bond issues on international markets; maintain high interest rates (6%) on foreign currency deposits in Belarusian banks for the population; increase pressure on importers in order to curtail imports; and adjust government programmes so that to reduce imports of equipment and raw materials in 2015.
According to Belstat, in August 7,600 people were dismissed, including 4,800 civil servants. Dismissals of civil servants were due to the optimisation in the public administration by up to 30%. Some civil servants would retain their job however would lose the status of a civil servant. Vacancies on the labour market are likely to reduce in number, thanks to the optimisation, the state administration would increase wages for public servants. The payroll fund for retained employees is likely to increase and some former state employees are likely to get jobs in affiliated organizations. The optimisation of the state apparatus should complete by January 1st, 2018, and some former civil servants are likely to join the ranks of the unemployed.