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.
According to Decree No. 221 of June 23rd, 2017, deadlines for the completion of foreign trade operations have been extended from 90 to 180 days for exports and from 60 to 90 days for imports. Delayed payments entailed a fine up to 2% of the transaction cost for each day of the delay, but could not exceed the total cost of the transaction. Most companies, when working with new counterparties, require a deferred payment for a period of three to six months. Due to the new regulation, violations are likely to reduce in number, so as the fines. Trade enterprises are likely to expand the assortment list due to the supply of new products in small lots, and the assortment list of exported Belarusian goods could expand, too. The new terms for completing foreign trade transactions would enable medium and small companies on the foreign trade market, exporters and importers are likely to grow in number and the geography of export-import operations could expand.