Belarusians to support national currency with their savings
According to the National Bank, in November 2016, Belarusians sold cash and non-cash currency worth USD 159.3 million on a net basis. People’s net supply of currency in November was the lowest in H2 2016. Due to reductions in nominal wages in the economy, people have reconsidered the prospects for their revenues to grow. In the near future, a short-term increase in the net supply of foreign currency is likely due to year-end bonus payments and the New Year celebrations. As of January 2017, retail trade volumes are likely to reduce again. However, due to further growth in utility tariffs and cuts in soft loans, Belarusians are likely to continue to spend their savings and provide an additional supply of foreign currency.
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.