Increase in wages and priming of economy could lead to inflation mid-term
According to HSE analysts (The Higher School of Economics, Russia), despite the gradual reduction in inflation in Belarus, a reduction in consumer loan rates, higher wages and pensions, and an increase in concessional lending would eventually lead to inflation in the medium term. According to Belstat, July 2017 was marked by deflation, which led to a 0.1% decrease in consumer prices. Since early 2017, prices have increased by 3.3%. An increase in tariffs for utility services is on the way. Due to the increase in the labour cost at enterprises amid pay rises, prices for food products and some non-food products are likely to increase. Modernization of refinery requires additional funds, which would lead to an increase in petrol prices. Inflation could be deterred due to a reduction in loan rates for industry and importers. If the national currency depreciated and inflation accelerated due to rising import prices, the state would resort to pricing regulation, which, in turn, would have a negative impact on financial health of producers and importers.
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.