Belarusian banking sector to reduce credit cost for successful enterprises to discount rate in early 2017
The average interest rate on rouble loans for legal persons in October 2016 was 21.8%, which is 12.4 percentage points lower compared with interest rates in December 2015. Low demand for credit resources amid higher budget expenditures has led to a sustainable excess liquidity. On November 16th, 2016, the National Bank allocated BYN 1 billion for a 28-day period at 12% per annum. Interest rates on currency and rouble loans are likely to continue to decline; household deposits in the banking system are likely to reduce and banks are likely to tighten rules for assessing credit risks when granting loans to enterprises. Banks are likely to restructure loans in order to fight bad debts. The state may tighten game rules for the banking sector, which means that successful businesses are likely to be able to receive credit resources at the discount rate in Q1 2017 due to lower bank profitability.
According to Decree No. 221 of June 23rd, 2017, deadlines for the completion of foreign trade operations have been extended from 90 to 180 days for exports and from 60 to 90 days for imports. Delayed payments entailed a fine up to 2% of the transaction cost for each day of the delay, but could not exceed the total cost of the transaction. Most companies, when working with new counterparties, require a deferred payment for a period of three to six months. Due to the new regulation, violations are likely to reduce in number, so as the fines. Trade enterprises are likely to expand the assortment list due to the supply of new products in small lots, and the assortment list of exported Belarusian goods could expand, too. The new terms for completing foreign trade transactions would enable medium and small companies on the foreign trade market, exporters and importers are likely to grow in number and the geography of export-import operations could expand.