Discount rate will drop to 11% in 2017
As of April 19th, 2017, the National Bank will reduce the discount rate from 15% to 14% due to a slowdown in inflation. In 2017, the discount rate reduction occurred every month by 1 percentage point. That said, by the year-end, the discount rate was projected at 14%-16%. Interest rates on loans for private persons and corporations are likely to continue to reduce, so as profitability of deposits in both, national and foreign currency. However, demand for loans is unlikely to step up due to persisting fears among banks to accumulate bad debts on loans and the lack of sufficient number of quality borrowers in the economy. If the current trend persists, and due to the industry’s pressure on the government to reduce loan burden on enterprises, the discount rate is likely to continue to reduce and may fall to 11% by the year-end.
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.