National Bank will reduce transparency of data on international reserves
As of July 1st, 2017, the National Bank will stop publishing data on international reserves according to the national methodology, albeit will continue publishing data by the IMF standard. Unlike the IMF standard, assets in currencies other than the hard currency (eg Russian rouble) and assets which do not comply with highly liquid asset requirements (precious stones, silver bars) are included in the national definition of reserve assets. After the Chinese yuan has become the hard currency, the reserves calculated by each methodology have become closer. International reserves are likely to grow by the IMF standard due to the transfer of some assets from the national standard to the IMF standard, and a new USD 700 million loan from Russia before H2 2017, which would permit to service public debt in 2017. New bond issues by the Finance Ministry and the National Bank on the domestic market would enjoy an increase in demand due to reduced interest rates on private currency deposits. Data on international reserves by the national standard made it possible to estimate the entire amount of funds at the National Bank’s disposal and its non-availability would reduce the transparency in the reasons behind the changes in international reserves.
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.