Until June 2016 population will be main currency source for Belarusian National Bank
According to the National Bank, in March 2016, the population sold USD 191 million on a net basis, which, including the first EFST tranche worth USD 500 million, enabled the National Bank to increase its reserves by USD 80.4 million to USD 4.2 billion and meet its internal and external liabilities. The population has sold its currency savings due to growth in utility bills and increased spending in March because of public holidays. Amid contained wage growth, currency supply will exceed demand from the population until the summer vacation period. In addition, banks are likely to see an outflow of foreign currency deposits, some of which may be used for current consumption, and expand financial instruments for investment by banks and government agencies. As well, prices and public services tariffs are likely to continue to grow. In the absence of new guaranteed loans, until the new issue of Eurobonds, population will remain the main source of currency for the banking system and the National Bank.
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.