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New Rouble denomination scheduled for July 1st, 2016 — in line with Belarusian President’s Decree

Banknotes to have four fewer zeros and to become more convenient

New Rouble denomination scheduled for July 1st, 2016 — in line with Belarusian President’s Decree

Belarusian banknotes are to lose four zeros, with the lowest denomination (the Br100 banknote) replaced by one Kopeck.

From July 1st 2016, notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Rouble denomination will come into circulation, alongside eight coins, worth 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 Kopecks, replacing old notes, and issued under the ‘My Land is Belarus’ slogan. Each will be devoted to a certain region of the country and to the city of Minsk, chosen in alphabetical order: a Br5 banknote is devoted to the Brest Region, Br10 — to the Vitebsk Region, Br20 — to the Gomel Region, and Br500 — to Minsk. The design won’t change drastically, with monuments of architecture and city planning depicted.

From July 1st until December 31st, 2016, both old and new money will be legal tender. However, between January 1st, 2017, and December 31st, 2021, old banknotes will be phased out, being replacable with new, without limitation or commission. Exchange will also be available from January 1st, 2017, to December 31st, 2019, at the National Bank, other banks and non-bank credit-financial organisations. Between July 1st, 2020, and December 31st, 2021, exchange will be possible only at the National Bank and, from January 1st, 2022, old money will become invalid.

As the National Bank explains, the decision on denomination aims ‘to perfect monetary circulation, simplify registration and settlements, sustain optimal banknote structure and significantly reduce state expenses in maintaining monetary circulation’.

It also comments that the denomination process is of technical character, creating no impact on the Belarusian Rouble’s purchasing capacity, the national currency exchange rate or the level of inflation. With this in mind, prices for goods and services will be recalculated using the 1:10,000 ratio from July 1st, 2016. To help buyers adapt to the changes, all economic entities will be obliged to fix two prices during the period of old and new banknotes’ simultaneous circulation. Salaries, allowances, scholarships, banking deposits, and company balances will be recalculated under the same principle.

Preparations have been long in the planning, with new money minted in 2008, at the National Bank’s order. However, due to the world economic crisis and the worsened economic situation, the campaign was postponed; coins and banknotes have been kept at the National Bank’s Central Depositary since then.

Taking into consideration the time needed for money production, new Belarusian Roubles from 2009 feature a faximile of Piotr Prokopovich — who occupied the post of National Bank Chairman of the Board at that time. In addition, the new Br50 banknote bears the inscription ‘пяцьдзeсят’ (‘fifty’); its orthography fails to meet the present rules. In line with Belarusian law #420-З, as of July 23rd 2008 — ‘On Rules of Belarusian Orthography and Punctuation’, this word should be written as ‘пяцьдзясят’. The National Bank promises that future banknotes will have this mistake corrected.

The issue of denomination has many times been on the agenda. In 2014, on meeting the media, Alexander Lukashenko noted that the design of new coins and banknotes had been approved, to ‘resemble Euros’. He also stated that denominations would be announced in Belarus six months before launch. “With specialists, we’ll decide when to launch; we must be cautious, although we’re ready to act at any moment. This step needs certain conditions, such as a certain interest rate. In addition, the market should be free of worries — so that people feel calm. Moreover, the economy mustn’t be experiencing crisis,” the President said.

By Marina Kudryavtseva
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