National Bank pushes for lower interests on corporate loans
As of September 28th, the National Bank introduced a new upper margin for rouble loans interest rates – not higher than the average rate in the previous month, minus 1%. As a result, loans’ interest rates will be reducing by at least 1% every month and by January 1st, 2015 will fall below 30% per annum. Interest rates on deposits for individuals will be lowered too, as well as corporate expenses on servicing loans. Demand for corporate rouble loans will heat up, reducing the demand for currency loans. The main risk is that the banking system might lose some liquidity and be unable to meet the hgher demand for rouble loans.
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.