Setting is ready for discount rate reduction
On March 5th, the interbank market rates fell below 19% pa for the first time in 2013.
The government managed to convince the head of state to relax the monetary policy. The National Bank improved the banking system’s liquidity, which resulted in reduced interest rates in the interbank market. The February consumer price index permits the National Bank to reduce the discount rate gradually.
On March 1st, 2013 the Council of Ministers’ meeting set a task to converge interest rates on loans in local and foreign currencies. Due to high interest rates on loans in national currency (40% and higher) the state economic modernization programme has been jeopardized. Banking system will be forced to find internal and external reserves to provide for a low-cost supply of “long” money.
The National Bank has ensured the liquidity excess in the banking system in record-high volumes. As of March 7th, the volume of funds, placed by banks on National Bank’s overnight deposits was BYR 9.1 trillion. The funds were placed at 19% interest rate. The volumes of available funds in the banking system resulted in the interest rates at the interbank market falling below 19% pa – for the first time in 2013. In turn, banks continued reducing rates on individual deposits. This will result in lower interest rates on business loans.
To justify the discount rate reduction, the National Bank had to refer to reduced inflation. On March 7th, Belstat published data, quoting February CPI at 1.2%. In January-February, inflation was 4.3% and the pricing policy has been put under state control, which empowered the National Bank to announce the potential discount rate reduction. As a result, payments within loan agreements that refer to the discount rate will reduce.
Therefore, enterprises will receive access to loans at reasonable interest rates. Rapid decline in interest rates should not be anticipated, because the National Banks has grounds to be afraid of the sharp rise in lending in the local currency, which against the lack of success in the international trade and the potential growth of investment imports could deteriorate the currency market situation.
According to Belstat, in August 7,600 people were dismissed, including 4,800 civil servants. Dismissals of civil servants were due to the optimisation in the public administration by up to 30%. Some civil servants would retain their job however would lose the status of a civil servant. Vacancies on the labour market are likely to reduce in number, thanks to the optimisation, the state administration would increase wages for public servants. The payroll fund for retained employees is likely to increase and some former state employees are likely to get jobs in affiliated organizations. The optimisation of the state apparatus should complete by January 1st, 2018, and some former civil servants are likely to join the ranks of the unemployed.