Summer holiday season to boost demand for foreign currency from Belarusian population
According to the National Bank, in June 2017, the population increased demand for cash currency up to USD 444.7 million, which was the biggest demand since early 2017. Net currency sales totalled USD 661.9 million, hence clear currency supply totalled USD 217.2 million.
The demand for cash currency has stepped up in Belarus due to the summer holidays season, when many Belarusians go abroad. High demand for cash currency would retain throughout the summer. In addition, further weakening of the Belarusian rouble due to the fall in oil prices and wage growth could increase the pressure on the foreign exchange market, as well as the growth in imports by legal entities.
Yet, household incomes have not grown enough to prompt net demand for foreign currency from individuals, hence, the population is likely to ensure clean supply of foreign currency within USD 125-150 million per month.
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.