Precious stones and metals have some special power to mesmerize and fascinate us. They are particularly impressive if they come in huge amounts. I will never forget my first visit to the vault of the National Bank of Belarus. Blocky bricks of gold, platinum and silver are stacked in neat pyramids and seem to assure us in their cool tranquility: as long as we are here, nothing bad will happen. It is hard not to believe.
We are far from those dire years when newspaper articles about the money market sounded like military reports in a terrible warfare and analysts were telling fortunes about the appreciation or depreciation of the dollar the following day or week... Nobody dared to speak about months or years, for the situation was completely illogical. You would get a $30 salary, spend nothing and have $15 by the end of the day. Numerous exchange rates, the official one, cash, non-cash, black market, interbank and what not were rolling just like dice, and no ordinary man could follow their spree…
This is all in the past now. Years of financial stability have made people pretty much certain that this stability is once and for all. The increase in retail deposits is good proof. The “piggy-bank” amounts to over 3.3 trillion Belarusian rubles and a bit more than $807 million. In January-September 2005 it rose by 949 billion rubles and $94.1 million. Nobody would be taking this money to banks if the situation were unstable and unpredictable.
This stability has a very firm and solid base, consisting of these very “yellow bricks” and the currency reserves of the country. It was the absence of this anchor that allowed the terrible market waves of the 90s to heave the ship named Belarus as they wanted.
The money sector is a very subtle and intricate mechanism, and it takes a real specialist to adjust it. Any fault may result in grave consequences. This is why the reserve of the National Bank could be replenished only in 1999, after the managerial staff of the National Bank felt strong and skillful enough. By late 2001 the Belarusian money system was insured by 10 tonnes of gold in the NBB’s vault. As of today all valuables of the country stored in the NBB amount to over 23 tonnes in the gold equivalent. This is not an anchor, but a real harbor that can withstand any market fluctuations. Besides, the NBB has more than $1 billion in currency reserves to manage the situation on the money-market. Take a look at the picture to see the considerable rise, which is not a one-time initiative of the administration of the country, but a stable tendency.
by Dmitry Kryat