Foreign currency exchange: expansion of the currency corridor
On 12 May the National Bank of Belarus expanded the corridor for the Belarusian ruble rate deviation against a basket of currencies (US Dollar, Euro, Russian ruble) from 8% to 12%.
Expansion of the corridor was the right decision, it made the exchange rate policy more flexible, however, it was insufficient, given the balancing rate was far above the upper margin level set by the National Bank.
Plurality of exchange rates distorts the economic picture and has negative impact on both, importers and exporters. Moreover, it affects insurance, leasing, construction and other companies, as their customer contracts are tied to the official exchange rate. Currency risks and uncertainty lead to higher prices and to degradation of variety of goods.
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.