National Bank outlines monetary policy goals until late 2014
According to the National Bank’s forecasts, BYR/USD exchange rate by late 2014 will be between BYR 10700 – 10800 per USD 1, the discount rate will drop to 20% per annum and interest rates on loans - down to 29% per annum. To implement these plans, the National Bank will continue "gradually" weakening of the Belarusian ruble against the USDollar (by circa BYR 100-120 per month); maintaining the positive yield on ruble deposits; gradually expanding lending to the real sector of the economy (the difference in rates for different sectors of the economy will persist, but the difference in the rates will decrease). The main risks are associated with reduced requirements for borrowers and possible expansion of government programmes which could trigger a rapid growth in lending to the economy and increase pressure on the currency market.
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.