National Bank cannot afford stronger Belarusian ruble
The Belarusian ruble exchange rate is declining and the National Bank does not have sufficient resources to maintain it. The NBB may replenish the gold resources at the expense of the second tranche of the EurAsEc Anti-crisis Fund credit if it was not forced by the EDB to raise the refinance rate up to the level of forecasting inflation rate.
Following the trades in a single session of an open joint stock company “Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange” on November 4, dollar exchange rate increased by Br100 and reached Br8750. The Belarusian ruble exchange rate has fallen against the dollar by 3.5% (Br300) for four days. Reducing of the national currency cost occurs despite the use of an administrative resource by the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus. In such a way a postponement on payments for gas was received (which significantly reduces the demand for currency at the exchange). In addition, the National Bank gently regulates demand due to the removal (postponement) of key applications to purchase foreign currency as well as conducting “explanatory” work with bankers and management of large enterprises.
Reducing of the national currency cost occurs despite the use of an administrative resource by the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus.
The National Bank cannot afford to spend the gold reserves in order to maintain or control the exchange rate. Therefore, it has only the administrative resource at its disposal. It is possible to support the rate with substantial foreign currency earnings, but this is not yet foreseen. Moreover, the Belarusian exports in September reduced, according to preliminary statistics. It is possible to replenish the gold reserves of the National Bank due to the second tranche of EurAsEc Anti-crisis Fund. However, despite all the efforts made by the Belarusian side, the money incoming is being delayed, as the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) warned national authorities as far back as on October 26, that there would not be any money until the benchmark is executed – the refinancing rate should not be below the projected level of inflation. This means the rate should almost double to a level of 50-60%, which would be a serious blow to the solvency of banks and their customers (and businesses, and the population). Under the circumstances the National Bank prefers an absence of credit.
President Lukashenka continues to rotate staff and rejuvenate heads of departments and universities following new appointments in regional administrations. Apparently, new Information Minister Karliukevich could somewhat relax the state policy towards the independent media and introduce technological solutions for retaining control over Belarus’ information space. New rectors could strengthen the trend for soft Belarusization in the regions and tighten the disciplinary and ideological control over the student movement in the capital.
President Lukashenka has appointed new ministers of culture and information, the new rector of the Belarusian State University and heads of three universities, assistants in the Minsk and Vitebsk regions.
The new Information Minister Karliukevich is likely to avoid controversial initiatives similar to those former Minister Ananich was famous for, however, certainly within his capacities. Nevertheless, the appointment of Belarusian-speaking writer Karliukevich could be regarded as the state’s cautious attempt to relax environment in the media field and ensure the sovereignty of national media.
The Belarusian leadership has consolidated the trend for mild Belarusization by appointing a young historian and a ‘reasonable nationalist’, Duk as the rector at the Kuleshov State University in Mogilev. Meanwhile, while choosing the head of the Belarusian State University, the president apparently had in mind the strengthening of the ideological loyalty among the teaching staff and students at the main university in order to keep the youth movement at bay. Previously, Korol was the rector of the Kupala State University in Grodno, where he held purges among the disloyal teaching staff.
The trend for the renewal of mid-ranking executives and their rejuvenation has confirmed. The age of the Culture Minister and three new rectors varies from 39 to 44 years old.