National Bank tries to slow down devaluation of rouble
Depending on various scenarios, the National Bank estimates that the value of the currency basket may grow by 3-7% by the end of the year in comparison with January 9th, 2015. As of January 26th, the value of the currency basket is growing at roughly 7%. It is unlikely that the National Bank will be able to keep the financial market at this level as Belarusian producers need to improve their competitivity on the Russian market. At the same time, the National Bank-s anti-devaluation measures will lead to currency shortages in exchange offices and higher interest rates for foreign currency deposits, as the National Bank tries to attract household currency savings. Only new loans from Russia or refinancing foreign debts could help improve the economic situation.
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.