Inflation in Belarus in 2017 could be lowest in ten years
According to Belstat, in August 2017, consumer prices fell by 0.8%, since early 2017, inflation was 5.3%. Prices in Belarus have been declining for two consecutive months, which was recorded for the first time since 1991. A seasonal decline in prices for fruit and vegetables is common in August due to harvesting season. Tariffs for housing and communal services are likely to continue to grow, currency exchange rate fluctuations unlikely to be significant, which should have a positive effect on the stability of import prices. A smooth reduction in discount rate should allow containing demand for Belarusian roubles from industry and trade and reduce inflation expectations. The lowest consumer inflation in the past ten years was recorded in 2010 at 7.8%. Should administrative regulation of inflation retain and oil prices remain high, by the year end, inflation in Belarus could be reported at 7%-7.5%.
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.