National Bank’s monetary policy may help curbing inflation in 2016
According to the National Statistics Committee, in April 2016, inflation stood at 0.7% and since early 2016 consumer prices rose by 6.4% with an annual forecast at 12%. The main influence on inflation had the increase in the housing and utility tariffs amid reduced household incomes and lower import prices on products. With the decline in money supply by the National Bank and the administrative burden on suppliers by the public authorities, inflation may further reduce to 0.5-0.6% per month. The decline in inflation may allow the National Bank to continue to lower interest rates in the economy, which will reduce the financial burden on businesses and will cut production costs.
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.