Exchange market approaching equilibrium
According to the National Bank, in April 2014, foreign currency net purchase by individuals and legal entities on the domestic market was at a record low since early 2014, amounting to USD 13 mln. Due to improvements in Belarus’ foreign trade, in April 2014 Belarus’ legal entities became net sellers of foreign currency. Stabilisation of the foreign exchange market will reduce pressure on the BYR exchange rate, will slower the pace of spending the international reserves on smoothing out BYR exchange rate fluctuations, and will reduce the need in foreign borrowing to service domestic and public debt.
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.