The country’s gold reserves increased due to rising world gold prices
In January 2012 the National Bank of Belarus managed to avert a statistical cut down of the country’s international reserves due to a sharp increase of the world gold price and other bureaucratic tricks.
Belarus’ foreign reserves calculated by the IMF standards on February 1, 2012 amounted to USD 7968.20 million, increased by USD 52.3 million (0.7%) in January. Meanwhile, foreign currency reserves declined in January to USD 714.60 million (15.9%) and on February 1, 2012 amounted to USD 3774.1 million.
As of 1 February the NBB managed to save the benchmark for the gold reserves from the reduction due to higher gold prices: monetary gold increased by USD 485.4 million (25.5%) to USD 2390.1 million on February 1. Due to some bureaucratic tricks other assets amounted to USD 1225.7 million, an increase by USD 275.6 million (29%) in January.
Last week, Belarusian Foreign Minister Makei participated in the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Eastern Partnership and Visegrad Group initiative hosted by Warsaw. The Belarusian FM emphasized Belarus' interest in cooperation in the transport sector, which could be due to Belarus’ desire to export electricity surplus after Belarus finished construction of the nuclear power plant in Ostrovets. Minsk expressed concerns about Warsaw’s stance on the Belarusian NPP, as it refused to buy electricity from Belarus and supported Vilnius’ protest on this issue. Following accusations by the Belarusian leadership and the state media against western states, including Poland, of training "nationalist militants", Minsk did not agree on the visit of the European Parliament deputies from Lithuania and Germany to Belarus and to the NPP construction site near Ostrovets in particular. In addition, the Belarusian authorities have stepped up efforts to enforce education in Russian in Polish-language schools in Grodno and Vaukavysk. Should a rift in Belarusian-Polish relations persist, the Belarusian authorities are likely to step up the pressure on the Polish-speaking minority in Belarus.