Tightening of monetary policy
The National Bank of Belarus on 1 June 2011 raised the refinancing rate by 2 % to 16% per annum.
Moreover, the government decided to stop granting preferential loans for the acquisition of Belarusian goods. Preferential loans for the purchase of Belarusian goods are issued by JSC “Belarusbank”, Belinvestbank, JSC “BPS-Bank”, Belagroprombank for up to three years at an annual rate of 10%.
While tightening the monetary policy, as well as bearing in mind the rising prices, the NBoB consistently raises interest rates, including the deposit IRs. However, restoring confidence in the banking system and stemming the outflow of deposits is only feasible after the stabilization of the situation on the foreign currency exchange market. Currently, the situation remains tense, although not critical for the banking system.
The Government should continue reducing the gross domestic demand via suspension of various schemes of concessional lending to enterprises and population, while the National Bank should continue raising interest rates.
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.