Belarusian international reserves would increase in 2017 if Belarus gains access to external borrowing markets
According to the Monetary Policy Programme for 2017, by late 2017 Belarus plans to increase her international reserves by IMF terms by USD 0.5 billion as compared to January 1st, 2017. Taking into account Belarus’ commitments vis-a-vis the EEU Anti-Crisis Fund, Belarusian international reserves on January 1st, 2017 should total circa USD 4.9 billion. In order to ensure reserves’ growth until the end of 2016, the Finance Ministry and the National Bank will release new bonds with one-year maturity period and will prepare for issuing Eurobonds worth USD 800 million. Eurobonds would be issued upon completion of talks with the IMF. In turn, the population due to falling incomes and rising utility tariffs will continue to reduce demand for foreign currency. Nevertheless, due to the expected failures in foreign trade, Belarus is unlikely to be able to service her public debt in full. Belarus’ international reserves are unlikely to grow in 2017 without additional loans.
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.