National Bank has to find new resources to refinance Belarus’ foreign currency liabilities

July 26, 2016 0:57

According to the National Bank, the net supply of foreign currency by legal entities and private persons on the domestic market side totalled USD 1.7 million. In the past four months, the average volume of net supply was USD 220 million per month, which helped the National Bank to maintain the gold reserves level. Net currency supply has reduced due to the negative situation in foreign trade and the summer holiday season. During the summer, low net supply of foreign currency will persist. In order to attract currency, banks may raise some rates on foreign currency deposits for legal and physical persons; obtain new syndicated loans, which could be used to refinance the National Bank’s obligations; and the Finance Ministry may place new securities on the domestic market. In view of the favourable situation on the international financial market, Belarus may issue Eurobonds with a total worth of USD 500 - 1000 million, which could solve the problem with servicing Belarus’ external debt before Q4 2016.

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Death penalty discussion in Belarus: yet not ready for either abolition or moratorium
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The Belarusian authorities have launched a discussion on the moratorium or abolition of the death penalty under the pressure of Belarusian human rights activists and international community. Apparently, the authorities are interested in monitoring public sentiments and response to the possible abolition of the capital punishment. The introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty would depend on the dynamics in Belarusian-European relations, efforts of the civil society organisations and Western capitals.

In Grodno last week, the possibility of abolishing the death penalty in Belarus or introducing a moratorium was discussed.

The Belarusian authorities are likely to continue to support the death penalty in Belarus. During his rule, President Lukashenka pardoned only one person, and courts sentenced to death more than 400 people since the early 1990s. Over the past year, Belarusian courts sentenced to death several persons and one person was executed.

There are no recent independent polls about people’s attitude about the death penalty in Belarus. Apparently, this issue is not a priority for the population. In many ways, public opinion about the abolition of the death penalty would depend on the tone of the state-owned media reports.

That said, the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Roman-Catholic Church stand for the abolition of the capital punishment, however their efforts in this regard only limit to public statements about their stance. Simultaneously, the authorities could have influenced public opinion about the death penalty through a focused media campaign in the state media. As they did, for example, with the nuclear power plant construction in Astravets. Initially unpopular project of the NPP construction was broadly promoted in the state media, and eventually, according to independent pollsters, was accepted by most population.