National Bank to fulfil forecast on discount rate for 2016 ahead of schedule
As of July 1st, 2016, the discount rate will be reduced from 22% to 20% per annum. The discount rate will be reduced due to the slowdown of inflationary processes in Belarus. Interest rates on deposits for individuals and legal persons will be reduced too and the maximum interest rate on rouble loans will be set at 30% per annum. If the volume of administrative loans reduces, interest rates are likely to continue to reduce in the banking system and legal persons may step up their interest in rouble loans. The outlook for the discount rate in late 2016 is circa 21-24% per annum and taking into account the upcoming reduction, this parameter will be met ahead of schedule. If oil prices grow and the national currency stabilises, the discount rate is unlikely to increase again this year.
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.