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Press Release- Embassey of Belarus : 3 June 2020

June 1, 2020

 

ANALYSIS: Belarus’ monetary sector gets slightly more stable, risks remain

Monthly overview of Belarus’ money-crediting & banking sector, Jan-Apr 2020

MINSK, Jun 1 – PrimePress. The situation in the monetary sector of Belarus got stabilized a little in April after the March shock, as can be seen from the official statistical data. However, the desire of the authorities to restore the pace of economic growth in the near future, in the absence of tangible financial resources for this purpose, increases the pressure on the monetary sector.

Table. Key performance indicators of the Belarusian monetary sector in 2020

  Real

standing as of May 1, 2020

Official forecast, as anticipated on Jan 1, 2021
Belarusian ruble’s average exchange rate against US dollar, Br/$1 2.41 2.2784*
Refinancing rate,  per cent per annum 8** 9.5*
Year-on-year inflation growth, % (key target of monetary policy) 5.4 (Apr 2020 on Apr 2019) not more than 5% (Dec 2020 on Dec 2019)
Belarus’ international reserves growth by the IMF’s SDDS, billion US dollars 7.883 at least 7.3
Growth in broad money supply since early 2018, % (intermediary target of monetary policy) 17.1 (Apr 2020 on Apr 2019) 8–11 (Dec 2020 on Dec 2019)

*as stated in the government’s medium-term finance programme of Belarus’ republican budget, which covers the 2020-2022 period (govt resolution #3 of Jan 3, 2020)

**reduced by 0.75 percentage points on May 20, 2020

 

National Bank announces transition to moderately soft monetary conditions

 

Despite the acceleration of inflation and increasing tension in the credit market, the National Bank decided to reduce the refinancing rate from May 20 to 8% per annum. The decision was taken at a regular meeting on monetary policy on May 13, 2020. The decrement step was increased to 0.75 p.p. from 0.25 p.p. last time.

The National Bank rates for operations to manage banks’ liquidity were adjusted accordingly:of management of banks were also reduced by the corresponding amount: the rate for overnight loans – decreased from 9.75% to 9% per annum, the rate for overnight deposits – from 7.75% to 7% per annum.

National Bank Chairman Pavel Kallaur pointed out changes in monetary conditions in the country. “Given the current economic circumstances, the Board of the National Bank has found it possible to move from neutral to moderately soft monetary conditions,” he said.

It is not clear yet how, given the situation in the economy, the rates in the credit and deposit market will behave after the regulator’s decision. Banks will surely not rush to cheapen the resources provided to the economy and give up higher deposit rates, especially amid uncertainty on the part of external factors. Although the Presidential Administration and the government expect exactly such an effect from reducing the refinancing rate – lower cost of loans to stimulate the economy.

At present, the level of interest rates corresponds to the situation in the Belarusian economy and is neutral in relation to it, i.e. it has no stimulating or dissuasive effect.

The National Bank says, amid the current uncertainty the average interest rate on new fixed-term bank deposits in Belarusian rubles increased in April 2020 to 8.90% per annum, to compare with 7.50% a month in March 2020 and 8.27% in April 2019. The average rate on new ruble loans (except for soft credits) in April this year stood at 10.67%, to compare with 10.49% per annum in March 2020 and 10.73% per annum in Apr 2019.

The average interest rate on interbank overnight credits in Belarusian rubles, which is viewed by banks as the most accurate instrument to measure the real value of money in the country, stood at 9.16% in April 2020, to compare with 9.23% in March 2020 and 10.3% in April 2019.

Transition from neutral to moderately mild monetary conditions, while inflation risks remain high and the economy needs reforming, may mean not only increased availability of credit resources in crisis conditions. This step by the regulator and its public declaration may also indicate that the authorities have made a choice in favour of stimulating economic recovery, putting price and financial stability issues on the back burner.

Demand foreign currency subsides thanks to stabilization of Br exchange rate

April saw stabilization of the national currency, as well as a decline in demand for foreign currency in Belarus’ domestic foreign exchange market.

After the official exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble at the end of the first quarter of 2020 decreased against the US dollar by 23.4%, against the euro – by 21.8% and strengthened against the Russian ruble by 4.1%, in April the Belarusian ruble grew against the dollar by about 5.8%, against the euro – by 6.8%, against the Russian ruble – by 0.5%.

In May 2020 the exchange rate of Belarusian ruble remained relatively stable. Despite its periodic fluctuations, the national currency strengthened against the dollar by about 1% month on month, and by 1% against the euro. The depreciation of the Belarusian ruble against the Russian ruble was 3.1% month on month, which can be regarded as a positive trend amid high dependence of Belarusian exports on the Russian market.

April saw a decline in demand for foreign currency in the domestic market amid stabilization of the Belarusian ruble. The National Bank says in April, FX sales by individuals, resident companies (including banks) and non-resident companies exceeded FX purchases by $377.9m, while in March FX purchases exceeded FX sales by $865.7m.

In Apr 2020, FX sales by Belarus’ resident companies exceeded their FX purchases by $166.9m, while in Mar 2020 FX purchases exceeded FX sales by $618.1m. Non-residents – $69.7m and $52.1m, respectively. FX sales by Belarusian banks in Apr 2020 exceeded their FX purchases by $210.8m, while Mar 2020 FX purchases exceeded FX sakes by $20.3m.

On their part, although individuals reduced their demand for hard currency, their FX purchases still exceeded their FX sales. In fact, FX purchases by individuals exceed their FX sales for five consecutive months. The National Bank says, FX purchases by individuals (both cash and cashless) exceeded FX sales by $69.5m, after $279.4m in Mar 2020.

Decreased interest in foreign currency on the part of individuals in April after a spike in March is quite natural. All those who wanted to convert their savings to foreign currency did so, while the population did not have any idle rubles: the growth in disposable household incomes is not as tangible as shown in official statistics reports. At the same time, a significant part of the ruble money supply has been ‘frozen’ in irrevocable deposits, which were successfully introduced by the National Bank a few years ago.

Nevertheless, until the end of the year, individuals will be likely to demonstrate sustained high demand for foreign currency in Belarus due to distrust in the economic policy of the authorities and the beginning of the presidential election campaign.

Decline in fixed-term personal deposits

The fall of the Belarusian ruble in March and the inaction of the authorities amid the economic crisis has resulted in an outflow of fixed-term personal deposits both in Belarusian rubles and foreign currency. The total balance of fixed-term personal deposits in Belarusian rubles amounted to Br5.024 billion as of May 1, 2020, down 1.6% month on month in April (minus 2.1% since early 2020). In turn, fixed-term personal deposits in foreign currency decreased by 3.2% (minus 6.1%) in April, amounting to $5.839 billion as of May 1.

Despite some increase in the average interest rates for deposits, April saw a decrease in the balance of new fixed-term deposits. The National Bank says the inflow of new fixed-term deposits in Belarusian rubles amounted to Br67.4 million in April 2020, to compare with  Br690.1 million in March 2020. In turn, the inflow of new fixed-term deposits in foreign currency amounted to $327.5 million in April 2020, to compare with $516.1 million in March 2020.

The waning interest in fixed-term foreign currency savings was offset by an increase in on-demand accounts. As of May 1, they stood at $1.461 billion, up 2.6% month on month in April, up 10.5% since early 2020. The main factors of such stratification can be called a small difference in rates between FX fixed-term deposits and card account balances, which make up the bulk of the population’s transferable deposits. In conditions of uncertainty, Belarusian people prefer to have access to their savings in the 24/7 mode, rather than to wait for the expiration of an irrevocable deposit.

April sees decline in personal lending

The slowdown in lending was due both due to the fact that the demand for this service was largely satisfied in March, and also due to the fact that some banks suspended their lending programs for the purchase of real estate. In addition, banks revised their own credit policy in order to reduce credit risks in the future.

We can assume that until the end of 2020, even with a relaxed monetary policy, the pace of lending will be restrained primarily due to banks’ taking a tougher stance on assessment of credit risks and customer creditworthiness. At the same time, crisis phenomena in the Belarusian economy could significantly worsen payment discipline of both private households and corporate customers, which would lead to a deterioration in the quality of banks’ loan portfolios.

Banking sector forced to take on some of real sector’s problems

After the March devaluation, the banking sector was not surprised to see a growing share of non-performing assets, the bulk of which are foreign currency loans provided to companies by large state-owned banks. As of May 1, the share of non-performing assets in the banking system averaged 5.36% against 5.33% a month earlier and 4.99% as of March 1, when the general crisis had not yet touched the country’s economy.

Despite the optimism of the authorities and their statements about the rapid recovery of the Belarusian economy, official statistics show a sharp deterioration in the financial situation of the real sector of the Belarusian economy. The policy to produce to stock, retain inflated personnel with regular wage payment amid collapsing sales markets will inevitably lead to the growth of bad debts both between enterprises and debts to banks, which are already experiencing a decline in profit levels.

To support commercial banks, the National Bank continued to soften some prudential requirements in April. The regulator, in particular, allowed banks to reduce their liquidity coverage ratio from 100% to 80%, and also reduce the capital conservation buffer from 2.25 p.p. to 2 p.p.

Banks were also allowed to apply the degree of credit risk to the credit debt and securities of systemically important borrowers in the amount of 100%, and in case such debt is secured by government guarantees – 20% for the debt in foreign currency and 0% for the debt in Belarusian rubles.

Despite this, in the coming quarters the banking sector will face the risk of growing non-performing assets and worsening financial condition of both banks and their borrowers. At the same time, there is a high probability that the authorities will return to their tried and tested practices, when emission money was used to stimulate the economy, as well as administrative pressure on the banking sector and the desire to shift the burden of problems from other sectors of the economy onto banks. End

Belarus registers 43,403 coronavirus cases, 240 deaths as of Jun 1, 2020

MINSK, Jun 1 – PrimePress. Belarus registered 43,403 confirmed coronavirus cases as of June 1, 2020, 240 people died, the Health Ministry of Belarus reports on its official Telegram channel.

18,776 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.

One day earlier, the number of registered coronavirus cases in Belarus reached 42,556; 235 patients died.

The Health Ministry says around 553,000 tests for the coronavirus infection have been conducted in Belarus as of June 1. End

 

Belarus faces increasing national security challenges as presidential election approaches ­– Lukashenko

MINSK, Jun 1 – PrimePress. Belarus faces increasing national security challenges as presidential election approaches, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said on June 1 at a meeting with KGB Chairman Valery Vakulchik, the presidential press office reports.

“Threats to economic, food and military security and many other areas are growing, as we enter into a difficult political period. National security a cornerstone. The KGB and the president play the leading role in protecting the independence and sovereignty of our state. We know the goals pursued by those wind blowers: to give us a Maidan on the eve of the presidential election or on the day of the election. This is their plan. I want to warn you and everyone who hears us that there will be no Maidan in Belarus,” Lukashenko said.

According to the president, everyone in Belarus may openly express their point of view, but only abiding by law. “No one stops anyone. There are places in Minsk and all cities for authorized debates, six places in Minsk, if I am not mistaken. And we are to make sure that no one goes beyond law. The KGB and police must prevent any attempts to commit violations. People are free to come together and talk, in the kitchens if they want, be my guest, but no one is allowed to bother other people. Public order must be maintained,” said Lukashenko.

The presidential election in Belarus is scheduled for August 9, 2020. The first presidential election took place on June 23 (first round) and July 10, 1994 (second round). Alexander Lukashenko has been staying in office ever since. A referendum on amendments to Article 81 of the Constitution of Belarus, which abolished the limit of two five-year presidential terms for one person, was held on October 17, 2004. End

COMMENT: Belarus and Russia on the verge of another gas war

MINSK, Jun 1 – PrimePress. Actions of the Belarusian authorities, which (presumably unilaterally) stopped making full payment for current supplies of Russian natural gas, put Belarus and Russia on the brink of another gas war.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller told reporters on May 29 that Belarus was $165.57 million short in payment for gas supplied to the country in 2020.

Belarus annually imports about 20 billion cubic metres of gas from Russia and is the largest consumer of Russian gas after Germany.  In February 2020, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Belarusian ambassador to Russia Vladimir Semashko signed a document on the gas pricing formula for 2020, keeping the price for Belarus flat on the year at U.S. $127 per 1,000 cubic metres. However, subsequently the price of oil and gas in the global market dropped significantly, and the favourable ‘non-market’ and stable price of $127 for the whole year turned out for Belarus to be an excess payment in comparison with other buyers of Russian gas.  Since then, Lukashenko, Rumas and relevant officials have stated the need to reduce the gas price. For instance, Rumas said that Belarus would try to prove to Gazprom at the talks in May 2020 that the price of gas imported from Russia was excessive, as the price for spot deliveries stood at $80 per thousand cubic metres. The talks did not take place in May, which was obviously due to Belarus’ reluctance to pay the debt.

On May 29, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said he was ready to negotiate the terms of gas supply to Belarus for the period after January 1, 2021, only after the current debt for gas supplies in the amount of $165.57 million has been fully settled. It follows from his words that Gazprom is not even going to discuss the prospects of cutting the gas price for Belarus in 2020. Previously, Russian authorities would also refuse to address this issue, insisting on execution of the contract signed by business entities.

Nevertheless, Belarus is trying to achieve a price of Russian gas at two political venues–the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the Belarus-Russia Union State.

Given the fact that the transit component accounts for about 70% of the gas price for Belarus, while the tariffs for gas transportation in Russia are three times lower than for gas supplies to Belarus, Minsk insists on the harmonization of tariffs in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). However, at the EEU summit on May 19, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected the possibility of tariff unification until the creation of a common gas market in the EEU (expected by 2025). In his words, a single tariff can only be implemented in a single market with a single budget and unified taxation system.

Losing the negotiations at all levels, the Belarusian authorities have apparently decided to repeat the tactics of 2016-2017, when they unilaterally paid for Russian gas some ‘fair price’, with Belarus’ debt to Gazprom reaching $726.2 million. Then the gas price for Belarus was about $132 per 1 thousand cubic metres, but the Belarusian side was paying $108 per 1 thousand cubic metres.

The conflict was resolved only in April 2017. The fixed price of gas in 2018 was $129 per thousand cubic metres, while in 2019 – $127. In addition, the Belarusian benefit was that the decision on the gas price was linked to the oil re-export scheme – a possibility for Belarus to annually re-export 6 million tonnes of Russian oil and keep the proceeds from export customs duties.

Time will show whether the Belarusian tactics will work this time. It depends on whether Gazprom, which owns the entire gas transportation system of Belarus, will escalate the conflict or give in.

It should be taken into account that July 2020 is the officially declared launch date for the first power unit of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, which is being built by Russia mostly at the expense of Russian loans. The launch may not take place, if the gas conflict is not resolved by then. End

Babariko calls for fair and legitimate presidential election in Belarus – declaration

MINSK, Jun 1 – PrimePress. Presidential nominee Victor Babariko calls on the government and population of Belarus to ensure fair and legitimate presidential election. He states this in his declaration on fair elections published by his election headquarters.

Babariko makes a stand against statements that discriminate against “gender, nationality or profession.”

“I want and have the right to fair elections, free from dishonourable or provocative behaviour. I can and should do everything to ensure my right to choose. I do not want to be forced to vote or to put my signature for anyone. I do not want to hear insults or threats towards candidates for the presidency, and I do not want to see such threats actualized, especially assisted by law enforcement agencies. I do not want to hear ungrounded accusations against nominees of crimes or offenses. If there are grounds, I want all known facts of offenses to be immediately reported to law enforcement agencies to initiate criminal cases or deny registration of a presidential candidate,” reads the statement.

Babariko urges to report facts of pressure and bribery by the authorities during the collection of signatures for presidential candidates, or attempts to influence the voting rights; report cases of misrepresentation of state statistics, concealment of truthful data, which may pose a threat to public safety, including regarding the sanitary situation.

Babariko asks all potential presidential candidates to publicly express their solidarity and join the declaration to organize a fair and free campaign, and all citizens of the Republic of Belarus, in particular members of election commissions, law enforcement and government officials to support the declaration.

“On Monday, June 1, 2020, we will file notices of known infringements of the legislation on the collection of signatures, bribery, and coercion to vote. Please report such facts! As soon as we receive information, we will supplement our appeal. It is easy and pleasant to tell the truth. The more citizens tell about the facts of violation of the law, the purer the election will be.”

Babariko called on those who are coerced to put signatures to report openly. “If you are fired or stripped of bonuses, we will provide legal, financial and other support. We urge you to help each other and not be afraid to act legally.”

As reported, Chairman of the Board of Belgazprombank OJSC Viktor Babariko announced on May 12, 2020 his intention to run for president of Belarus. It became known on the same day that he stepped down as chairman of the Board.

Babariko was born on November 9, 1963 in Minsk. He graduated from Belarusian State University in 1988 and Academy of Management under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus in 1995. He was working in the country’s banking system since July 1995; chairman of the Board of Belgazprombank OJSC from July 2000 to May 2020.

The presidential election in Belarus is scheduled for August 9, 2020. The first presidential election took place on June 23 (first round) and July 10, 1994 (second round). Alexander Lukashenko has been staying in office ever since. A referendum on amendments to Article 81 of the Constitution of Belarus, which abolished the limit of two five-year presidential terms for one person, was held on October 17, 2004. End

Belarus’ FinMin to allocate Br180m in subsidies for supplementary benefits

MINSK, Jun 1 – PrimePress. The Ministry of Finance of Belarus will allocate Br180 million ($74.69 million at the exchange rate of the National Bank of Belarus) to the state extra-budgetary Fund of Social Protection in the form of an inter-budget transfer as subsidies, so that employers maintain salaries of public sector employees at least at the minimum wage amount of Br375 ($155.6 at the rate of the National Bank of Belarus) in case of involuntary part-time employment or downtime from May 1 to July 31, 2020 due to the epidemiological situation (presidential decree No.178 of May 28, 2020 posted on the National Legal Internet Portal on May 30, 2020).

Subsidies will also be used to pay contributions to the Social Protection Fund.

The funds will be allocated from the republican budget balance formed as of January 1, 2020.

Local executive and administrative bodies are entitled to make decisions upon request on the provision or denial of subsidies within ten days from the date of application.

The decree also extends until August 31, 2020 the period of payment of benefits to individuals, whose benefits expire in May-July 2020.

The decree comes into force upon its official publication and covers relations that have arisen since May 1, 2020. End

Belarus’ business climate index declines significantly due to lower demand and output – NBB

MINSK, Jun 1 – PrimePress. According to the National Bank of Belarus (NBB), Belarus’ Business Climate Index (BCI) has markedly decreased amid falling demand and output and a decrease in orders placed in the foreign and domestic markets, reads the NBB analytical review for February-April 2020.

The seasonal BCI decreased by 10.8 percentage points compared with the previous three months to minus 7.6% (the previous BCI showed a 0.5 pp quarterly decline to 3.3%). The actual BCI in February-April 2020 was at minus 5%, which is 3.6 pp higher than in November 2019–January 2020

The economic situation in February-April 2020 also worsened considerably. 51.7% of enterprise managers called it unfavourable (40.3% three months earlier); 46.8% of respondents (58.6%) believed it was favourable. 68.9% (70.1%) said the economic situation at their enterprises was satisfactory; 23.3% (18.8%) said it was bad.

Demand for products and output decreases

According to enterprise managers, demand has declined significantly over the past three months. The ratio of answers was minus 20.6%, which is 5.3 percentage points below the previous reporting period.

All analyzed enterprises felt a decrease in demand. Transport companies top the list in this respect with minus 34.3% (minus 27% in the previous quarter survey). The National Bank says the season-based assessments of demand have been negative for several years now.

Enterprise managers say that actual output (contract works, transport services, trade turnover) decreased significantly in February-April 2020: the ratio of answers decreased by 5.2 percentage points compared with November 2019–January 2020 to minus 15.7%. 47.9% of respondents pointed at the insufficient receipts for financing current activities as a factor that impedes output growth; 47.6% cited consumer defaults in payment; 41.5% – floating assets shortages; 36.1% – poor demand. Industry-wise, the most significant decline in the volume of provided services was reported by transport enterprises.

Sales in physical terms decreased in February-April 2020 against the backdrop of contracting output and demand. The ratio of answers was minus 11.2% (minus 7.7% in the previous survey). Unsold inventories (facilities under construction behind schedule, commodities unsold over three months) generally decreased. The ratio of answers was minus 1.1%.

Half of enterprises need floating assets

Floating asset shortages were reported by 55.7% of monitored enterprises (54.8% in November 2019–January 2020). 58.8% of managers assessed the impact of lending terms on enterprises’ operations as moderate. 17.3% complained about changed costs of loans; 19.4% – changed credit accommodation terms.

71.1% of respondents wanted the Belarusian ruble exchange rate to remain at the current level; 15.6% would like a higher rate; 13.3% spoke in favour of depreciation.

Pessimism prevails

Enterprise managers expect a further decrease in output and demand in February-April 2020, sale price hikes, layoffs and increased need for loans.

Also, 87.1% of respondents expect an increase in consumer prices in the next three months and a drop in the exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble against the Russian ruble and the US dollar. End

Belarus banks’ loan portfolio up 9.9% to Br60.17bn in Jan-Apr 2020

MINSK, Jun 1 – PrimePress. Belarusian banks’ loan portfolio stood at Br60.17 billion ($24.967 billion at the official exchange rate of the central bank) as of May 1, 2020, up 9.9% since early 2020, according to the National Bank of Belarus (NBB).

Of the total loan portfolio, loans issued in Belarusian rubles stood at Br29.868 billion ($12.393bn) as of May 1, 2020, up 3.1% since early 2020.

Belarusian banks’ FX share in the loan portfolio increased 17.7% in Jan-Apr 2020 to the equivalent of Br30.303 billion ($12.574bn) as of May 1, 2020.

Banks’ loan portfolio, excluding factoring, leasing and promissory notes operations, went up by 11.5% in Jan-Apr 2020 to Br54.137 billion ($22.463bn) as of May 1, 2020.

Loans to state-owned companies went up 11.9% since early 2020 to Br19.082 billion ($7.918bn) as of May 1, 2020; loans to private companies went up 17.1% since early 2020 to Br17.535 billion ($7.276bn) as of May 1, 2020; loans to private households increased 5.1% to Br14.881 billion ($6.175bn); non-banking loans amounted to 2.638 billion rubles ($1.095bn), up 11.5% since early 2020.

The share of short-term loans stood at 29.1% as of May 1, 2020 (28.3% as of Jan 1, 2020), while the share of long-term loans stood at 70.9% (71.7% as of Jan 1, 2020).

Overdue debts accounted for 0.24% of the total credit debt as of May 1, 2020, to compare with 0.31% as of Jan 1, 2020. Since early 2019, the share of overdue credit debts decreased by 12.8% to Br145.9 million ($60.539m) as of May 1, 2020. End (Br2.41/$1)

Belarusian banks’ profits down 4.5% in Jan-Apr 2020 to Br278.4m

MINSK, Jun 1 – PrimePress. Belarusian banks’ total balance sheet profit amounted to 278.4 million Belarusian rubles (Br) in January-April 2020, or U.S. $115.5 million at the official rate of the central bank, down 4.5% on the year, the National Bank of Belarus said in a statistical report.

Banks’ regulatory capital stood at Br11.171 billion ($4.635bn) as of May 1, 2020, up 0.1% year on year (up 6.8% from May 1, 2019).

Capital adequacy ratio stood at 16.6% as of May 1, 2020, to compare with 17.8% as of Jan 1, 2020, 18% as of May 1, 2019.

Return on equity of Belarusian commercial banks was at 10.6% as of May 1, 2020, to compare with 10.9% as of Jan 1, 2020 and 10.7% as of May 1, 2019.

Belarusian banks’ assets stood at Br86.633 billion ($35.947bn) as of May 1, 2020, up 10.6% year on year (up 19.1% from May 1, 2020).

Return on assets stood at 1.4% as of May 1, 2020 (1.5% as of Jan 1, 2020), to compare with 1.5% as of May 1, 2019.

As of Apr 1, 2020 the total value of non-performing loans (NPL) stood at Br3.516 billion ($1.459bn), up 28.9% from Jan 1, 2020, up 4% from May 1, 2019.

Provisions for assets exposed to credit risk grew by 14.7% in Jan-Apr 2020 to Br4.197 billion ($1.741bn) as of May 1, 2020, (up 15.4% year on year). End (Br2.41/$1)

Eurasian Development Bank obtains market maker status at BCSE

MINSK, Jun 1 – PrimePress. The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) is the first international financial organization to obtain the status of a market maker on the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange OJSC (BCSE), the bank reports.

The new status will help the bank expand its presence in the financial market of Belarus. “Since September 2019, the EDB has been acting as a market maker with the RUB/BYN_TOD financial instrument. Mutually beneficial cooperation with the BCSE helps the EDB fulfill one of its priority tasks: to assist in development and augmentation of integration processes in the financial markets of the EDB member states,” says Daniyar Imangaliyev, Treasury Director at the EDB.

The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) is an international financial institution founded by Russia and Kazakhstan in January 2006 with the mission to facilitate the development of market economies, sustainable economic growth, and the expansion of mutual trade and other economic ties in its member states. The EDB charter capital totals US $7 billion. The bank’s member states are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan. End

Monday forex session: ruble up 0.38% against dollar to Br2.4008/$1

MINSK, Jun 1 – PrimePress. Following the bidding at the single forex session of the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange (BCSE) in the format of a continuous two-way auction, the Belarusian ruble stood at Br2.4008/$1 to the dollar on Jun 1, up 0.38% on the previous day of trading, says the BCSE official report.

Following the bidding at the single forex session on Monday, the ruble stood at Br2.6736/€1 to the euro, up 0.13%; at Br3.4492/RUB100 to the Russian ruble, down 1.16%.

As reported, the National Bank of Belarus (NBB) on June 1, 2015 stopped the practice of fixing the exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble to the basket of foreign currencies on a day-to-day basis and switched over to FX trading on the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange (BCSE) in the format of a continuous two-way auction.

The parties taking part in continuous two-way auctions at the BCSE are free to make bids and offers during the entire auction period, however deals will be made if the FX trading system bridges bids with relevant offers.

The weighted average rate of the US dollar, the euro and the Russian ruble shall be the National Bank’s official exchange rate of the relevant currency for the day that follows the day of trading.

At the moment, the exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble is pegged to the basket of foreign currencies, with the share of the Russian ruble standing at 50%, the US dollar – 30%, the euro – 20%. End

Belarus oil refineries’ petrol output down 29.6% in Jan-Apr 2020 to 801,600 tonnes

MINSK, Jun 1 – PrimePress. Belarusian oil refineries (Naftan, Novopolotsk, Vitebsk Oblast, and Mozyr Oil Refinery, Gomel Oblast) produced 801,600 tonnes of petrol in Jan-Apr 2020, down 29.6% year on year, Belstat told PrimePress.

In April 2020, Belarusian refineries produced 233,900 tonnes of petrol, down 10.7% year on year.

Petrol inventories totalled 7,300 tonnes as of May 1, 2020 (4.3% of average monthly output).

Belarusian refineries reduced diesel fuel output (including biodiesel) in January-April 2020 by 33.1% year on year to 1.478 million tonnes. Diesel fuel output in April 2020 increased 10.7% yoy to 506,800 tonnes.

Diesel fuel inventories amounted to 38,600 tonnes as of May 1, 2020 (11% of average monthly output).

As reported, Belarusian refineries reduced petrol output in 2019 by 14.6% yoy to 2.989 million tonnes and increased diesel fuel output (including biodiesel) by 2.1% yoy to 6.739 million tonnes. End

Belarus’ crude oil output down 1.8% in Apr 2020 to 134,591 tonnes

MINSK, June 1 – PrimePress. Belorusneft (Rechitsa, Gomel Oblast)–Belarus’ sole producer of crude oil–says its crude output decreased 1.8% year on year in Apr 2020 to 134,591 tonnes.

In April, oil extraction was up 7.2% year on year to 20,747 tonnes.

As reported, Belarus plans to increase crude oil output by 1.18% year on year in 2020 to 1.7 million tonnes. In 2019, Belarus increased crude output by 1.19% year on year to 1.69 million tonnes.

Belorusneft was founded in 1966. The company specializes in exploration work, oil extraction, gas processing and offers a wide range of seismic exploration operations.

Belorusneft provides oil extraction service in Russia, Ukraine, Venezuela and Ecuador, facilitates crude supplies to Belarusian on refineries on a give-and-take basis. Belorusneft sells oil products via a proprietary network of refilling stations – the largest network in the country. End

Belarus’ mineral fertilizer output down 22.1% in Jan-Apr 2020 to 2.309m tonnes

MINSK, Jun 1 – PrimePress. Belarus’ output of all kinds of mineral fertilizers reduced by 22.1% on the year in January-April 2020 to 12.309 million tonnes (in terms of the core fertilizer component), Belarus’ Statistics Committee (Belstat) said in a report.

Output of potash fertilizers decreased 25.5% on the year to 1.91 million tonnes, phosphate fertilizers – down 3.4% to 71,000 tonnes, nitrogen fertilizers – up 0.5% year on year to 328,000 tonnes.

Mineral fertilizer inventories stood at 78,900 tonnes as of May 1, 2020 (13.7% of average monthly output); including potash – 66,000 tonnes (13.6%), nitrogen – 7,300 tonnes (8.9%), phosphates – 5,600 tonnes (31.6%).

As previously reported, Belarus’ output of all kinds of mineral fertilizers grew 0.9% on the year in January-December 2019 to 8.503 million tonnes (in terms of the core fertilizer component). Output of potash fertilizers remained at 7.348 million tonnes, nitrogen fertilizers – up 7.9% to 938,600 tonnes, and output of phosphate fertilizers went up 2.7% to 216,900 tonnes. End

NBB’s currency rates as of Jun 2, 2020

MINSK, Jun 1 – PrimePress. The National Bank of Belarus (NBB) set on Jun 1, 2020 the following exchange rates of the Belarusian ruble (Br) against foreign currencies for Jun 2, 2020.

  Currency   Br
1 AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR AUD 1.6151
1 BULGARIAN LEV BGN 1.3644
100 UKRANIAN HRYVNA UAH 8.9565
10 DANISH KRONE DKK 3.5803
1 U.S. DOLLAR USD 2.4008
1 EURO EUR 2.6736
10 POLISH ZŁOTY PLN 6.0368
10,0000 IRANIAN RIAL IRR 5.7162
100 ICELAND KRONA ISK 1.7671
100 JAPANESE YEN JPY 2.2313
1 CANADIAN DOLLAR CAD 1.7490
10 CHINESE YUAN CNY 3.3652
1 KUWAITI DINAR KWD 7.7897
10 Moldovan Leu MDL 1.3719
1 New Zealand Dollar NZD 1.4958
10 NORWEGIAN KRONE NOK 2.4760
100 RUSSIAN RUBLE RUB 3.4492
1 SDR (Special Drawing Rights) XDR 3.2939
1 SINGAPORE DOLLAR SGD 1.7037
100 KIRGHIZ SOM KGS 3.2533
1,000 KAZAKH TENGE KZT 5.8778
10 TURKISH LIRAS TRY 3.5190
1 BRITISH POUND STERLING GBP 2.9742
100 CZECH KORUNA CZK 9.9400
10 SWEDISH KRONA SEK 2.5495
1 SWISS FRANK CHF 2.4985