Government and National Bank can relax about international reserves for next two months
According to an agreement signed between Belarus’ Government and the VTB bank, a USD 2 billion loan was allocated for Belarus and will be listed in the gold reserves.
As a result, Belarus’ international reserves will show an increase by late June. The gold reserves will increase by less than the loans’ value. Partially, it will be spent on repaying international and domestic public debt and expanding loans in the public sector by granting preferential loans for enterprises. In addition, the government might issue Eurobonds, due to a favourable situation on the international market and the low cost of borrowing. The main risk regarding international reserves’ is a potential rapid decline in interest rates, which would increase the demand for foreign currency from individuals and businesses.
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.