Belarus foreign reserves increased by 4.1% m/m in July

Belarus foreign reserves increased by 4.1% m/m in July
The foreign exchange reserves of Belarus increased by $337mn, or 4.1% month-on-month, to $8.63bn in July following a 2.5% m/m growth in June
By bne IntelliNews August 8, 2019

The foreign exchange reserves of Belarus increased by $337mn, or 4.1% month-on-month, to $8.63bn in July following a 2.5% m/m growth in June, the National Bank of Belarus (NBB) said in a statement on August 7,

The result was mainly attributed to the purchase of foreign exchange at the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange; receipt of funds in foreign exchange to the budget, including export duties on oil and oil products; as well as proceeds from the sale of bonds denominated in foreign exchange by the nation's Ministry of Finance.

At the same time, Minsk fulfilled external and internal foreign exchange obligations worth about $500mn in July.

According to Monetary Policy Guidelines for 2019, the volume of international reserve assets as of January 1, 2020 should be at least 7.1 billion.

According to the nation's monetary policy guidelines for 2019, the volume of international reserve assets as of January 1, 2020, should be at least $7.1bn.

Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin has greenlighted the allocation of a new $600mn government loan to Belarus. Minsk was going to use the money to repay previous Russian loans. The two governments are discussing procedures needed for signing the loan agreement, Siluanov added.

The Russia-led Eurasian Fund for Stabilisation and Development (EFSD) is also considering the allocation of the seventh $200mn tranche to Minsk. In October 2018, the EFSD allocated the sixth $200mn support tranche to cash-strapped Belarus from the lender's $2bn loan agreed with Minsk in 2016.

The allocation of the tranche followed reports that Moscow intends to suspend the allocation of new tranches from $2bn support package agreed between Minsk and the EFSD, as well as suspend negotiations on a new $1bn intergovernmental loan, which could be a painful blow for the reserves.

Meanwhile, Belarus faces a new economic crisis if Minsk fails to secure full compensation from Russia for losses triggered by the latter’s new energy taxation system (the so-called tax manoeuvre), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a statement in January.

According to the Belarusian finance ministry, the country’s budget revenue losses from the tax manoeuvre in 2019 alone were estimated at BYN600mn ($300mn), and that the losses might total $2bn by the end of 2024.

On December 8, a spokesperson with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said in a televised interview that Minsk has already lost $3.6bn due to Russia's cut of energy subsidies to Belarus. Due to Moscow's tax manoeuvre Belarus will lose an additional $11bn within the next four years, the spokesperson added.

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