Interest rates on foreign currency deposits will continue to reduce despite deposits’ outflow
According to the National Bank, in April 2016, the population reduced foreign currency deposits in the banking system by USD 80 million to USD 7 834.5 million. Over the past six months, Belarusians have withdrawn circa USD 500 million from the banking system. Foreign currency deposits in the banking system are expected to continue to decline, as well as foreign currency lending to the real sector of the economy. Interest rates on foreign currency loans will be reduced and low demand for government securities in foreign currency will be preserved due to their long-term maturity and reduced profitability. Regardless of deposits’ outflow, banks will continue to lower rates on foreign currency deposits due to the lack of sufficient number of reliable foreign currency borrowers and the pressure from the National Bank to reduce public debt servicing costs, in which banks have also invested.
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.