Market oil prices fall, fuel prices rise
Retail prices on diesel and petrol fuel rose by 4.3% in Belarus to compensate for the Belarusian ruble depreciation against the US Dollar.
The Belarusian ruble exchange rate fluctuations since early 2014 were offset by lower market prices on oil. The government has increased fuel prices in order to generate budget revenues. As a result, corporate costs will increase as raw materials and goods will be transported by road; the demand for Belarusian fuel will decrease, reducing sales at garages near the border. However, oil refineries’ profits will increase, meaning additional budget revenues. The government will continue readjusting fuel prices depending on its needs for additional budget revenues (oil prices not being the major factor).
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.