Cold weather in Belarus could interfere with plans to reduce inflation below 7% in 2017
The Economy Ministry has projected a decrease in annual inflation to 5% with a forecast of 9% for 2017. According to the results of Q1 2017, consumer prices increased by 3.4% and foodstuffs by 4.3%. When the Belarusian rouble depreciates, price for imported goods would increase and would restrain growth in household incomes. An increase in prices for Belarusian on foreign markets would lead to a gradual increase in prices on the domestic market, primarily dairy products. Unfavourable weather conditions, both in Russia and in Belarus, could have a negative impact on the yield of cereals and vegetables, which would lead to higher prices for these products and could derail the plans to reduce inflation, both in 2017 and in 2018.
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.