Belarusians help National Bank to restrain depletion of gold reserves
According to the National Bank, as of April 1st, Belarus’ gold reserves totalled USD 4 560.5 million – shrank by USD 90.8 million since March. Experts have assessed such a depletion rate as ‘fairly moderate’, considering that in March 2015 was the peak of external debt payments. On the positive side, in March 2015, the net sale of foreign currency cash by population totalled SD 243.8 million. In addition, due to some ‘stabilisation’ of the BYR, the National Bank did not have to use international reserves to support BYR exchange rate. Since Belarus is expecting to receive a USD 110 million loan from Russia, her gold reserves may stop dwindling in the coming month. In addition, Belarusian state banks may issue new currency bonds on domestic market and rules regarding non-centralized imports by Belarusian citizens may be toughened. Trending net sales of foreign currency by population will persist in the coming months due to falling incomes and the need to convert foreign currency savings to support consumption levels.
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.