Thanks to population and Russian loans, international reserves forecast for 2017 could be fulfilled ahead of schedule
According to the National Bank, in January – May 2017, the population sold USD 950 million on a net basis, which allowed the National Bank to report an increase in the international reserves up to USD 5.2 billion as of June 1st, 2017. According to the main priorities of the monetary policy for 2017, the international reserves as of December 31st, 2017 should exceed by USD 0.5 billion the reserves on January 1st, 2017 (USD 4.9 billion). If net currency supply on the domestic foreign exchange market retains, international reserves would increase and the domestic public debt would be refinanced through new bond issues with a gradual reduction in interest rates on debt obligations. The increase in the Russian oil supply will have a positive impact on the budgetary proceeds. Belarus and Russia have agreed to refinance several loans totalling USD 700 million in 2017, the funds should be allocated before H2 2017, enabling the National Bank to fulfil the forecast for the growth in international reserves for 2017 ahead of schedule.
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.