Enhance consumer lending could boost retail turnover by 1-2 percentage points
According to the National Bank, in May 2017 consumer debt on consumer loans increased by BYN 136 million or 7.2% and exceeded BYN 2 billion, which was the maximum increase in debt over the past few years. The increase in demand for consumer loans has occurred after the requirement for a mandatory certificate of income was lifted, which simplified the procedure for obtaining a consumer loan. In the future, more banks are likely to issue loans without income certificates, the competition on the consumer lending market is likely to increase. Loans are likely to be issued in the form of instalments without paying the initial instalment and lower interest rates in the economy would reduce the instalment costs for businesses and reduce possible overpayments for consumers. The growth in wages stepped up retail turnover by 0.3% in H1 2017. Easier access to consumer lending could lead to an increase in unplanned purchases and boost retail turnover by 1-2 percentage points by the end of 2017.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.