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.
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.