Housing construction at people’s own costs is likely to ensure stable currency supply
According to the National Bank, in August 2016, the Belarusian population sold USD 282 million of foreign currency on a net basis, which was the highest volume in 2016. In August, consumer spending is traditionally high due to the start of the school season. Net foreign currency supply on the domestic market is likely to persist until the year-end if current oil prices remain unchanged. In addition, households are likely to increase spending on foodstuffs and reduce secondary costs. International reserves are likely to increase and rates on currency and rouble deposits are likely to decrease. The reduction in soft loans on housing construction and consistent convergence of real estate market prices and housing prices for the needy citizens, will become an additional factor ensuring a net currency supply from the population.
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.