Currency and credit markets reflect situation

Issues of financial stability discussed at working meeting between President Alexander Lukashenko and Nadezhda Yermakova, Chair of the National Bank’s Board of Directors

The Head of the State is interested in strategic issues of development in the banking sphere — relating to commercial banks. He was keen to know Ms. Yermakova’s views on how to curb inflation on the consumer market and possible repercussions from the shift to a single exchange rate. She admitted that the new exchange rate has influenced inflation, as has our lack of gold-and-currency reserves and feverish demand for currency and goods. Price regulation within our single customs space and growing prices for energy resources also have a role to play.

The exchange rate of the national currency has plateaued and, according to the Head of the National Bank, no immediate sharp fluctuations are expected in the nearest future. Accordingly, inflation growth should steady. However, Ms. Yermakova believes that utility prices should be adjusted to reflect their real cost. Next year, inflation looks set to reach 19 percent. “This is achievable if we work efficiently and don’t overextend the volume of money circulating in the country. Moreover, we mustn’t place additional pressure on the stock exchange,” she asserts. As far as loans are concerned, they are necessary but should be used within strict limits.

Ms. Yermakova assesses the situation on the currency market as positive, as currency is now available at exchange offices. From mid-September, the public sold $460m to the banks, while banks sold over $350m on the stock exchange. A range of other positive factors are being observed on the currency market, with the introduction of the additional session raising the volume of obligatory currency sales by exporters by 25 percent. Meanwhile, the debt is gradually falling.

The situation on the credit market is also normal, with a rise in the refinancing rate leading to higher loan interest payments for enterprises. This aims to reduce the volume of money circulating, persuading enterprises to more efficiently use their own funds. Interest rates on savings have risen for individual accounts, to benefit the public, resulting in a gradual increase in foreign currency savings. The President has approved the policy being pursued by the National Bank.

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