Golden rule of economic stability

Belarus’ gold and currency reserves have almost doubled over the last two years

By Nikolay Roshchin

As of early December, these totalled almost $6.8bn: a record level for Belarus (calculated using national methods). According to experts, this enhances the stability of the national economy, while ensuring the stability of the Belarusian rouble.

The latest increase was primarily in Chinese yuans, received by our state as part of a swop agreement with China. “Growing gold and currency reserves send a positive signal, guaranteeing stability,” notes Alexander Mukha, an analyst with Business Forecast. “If these rise, trust from foreigners towards the Belarusian economy and our national currency is enhanced.”

“Such reserves act as a financial ‘safety cushion’,” explains the expert. The National Bank of Belarus stores gold, foreign currency, precious stones, securities and other assets, which can be part-liquidated to meet the difference between supply and demand for foreign currency. This avoids the sharp devaluation of the Belarusian rouble against the US dollar or euro.
Most countries aim to hold enough gold and currency reserves to pay for imports for three months — in case of acute need. By the end of the year, our reserves may expand by another $0.5bn and may increase by at least $1.2bn in 2011.

The greatest gold and currency reserves are owned by China (around $2.6 trillion) and Japan ($1.1 trillion). However, there’s no sense in endlessly expanding the ‘financial cushion’. According to some estimates, Russian reserves currently equal ten months’ worth of imports. Experts recommend redistributing funds, directing them towards the construction of new enterprises and the modernisation of existing manufacturing lines.

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