As Russia reduces interest rates, Belarusian banks may improve foreign currency liquidity
Some Russian banks have cut rates on foreign currency deposits for the population to less than 1% per annum with a one-year maturity period. This measure may attract Russian investors, who will be looking for alternative options to accommodate available funds, so as Belarusian banks offer 4% per annum. Even though Belarus plans a further reduction in interest rates on foreign currency deposits, the Finance Ministry may issue additional government foreign currency bonds for individuals, and Belarusian banks may arrange bond issues with one or two year maturity period at 5% per annum. The public debt servicing costs may also reduce thanks to interstate commercial loans at a lower rate. If Belarusian banks improve foreign currency liquidity, they may lower rates on corporate foreign currency loans to 10% per annum or less.
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.