Lower loan interest rates led to record number of outstanding loans
The National Bank reported that in July 2014 the economy’s debt to the banking sector (loans in national currency) increased by BYR 2.6 bln (circa EUR 189 million) – the largest debt since August 2013.
The debt has also accumulated due to the National Banks’ soft monetary policy. The National Bank is expected to further reduce rates in the economy, interest in currency loans will decline and banks will continue to lower interest rates on rouble deposits in the economy. The main risk is that the volume of outstanding loans will continue to increase rapidly, thus leading to liquidity problems in the banking system.
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.