Friday, August 12, 2011

Belarus Central Bank Hikes Rate 200bps to 22.00%

The National Bank of the Republic of Belarus raised its refinancing rate by 200 basis points to 22.00% from 20.00% previously.  The Nacionalny Bank Respubliki Belarus said: "Along with general economic measures undertaken by the government, this tightening will help stabilize the external economic situation and limit inflation,".  The Bank also commented that "as positive trends in the economy and financial markets develop, the Natsionalnyi Bank will return to its policy of gradually lowering the refinancing rate".

 The move brings the total increase in the refinancing rate for 2011 to 1150 basis points (from 10.50%), the Bank previously also increased the interest rate by 200 basis points on the 13th of July, 22nd of June, and 1st of June.  Belarus reported consumer price inflation of 36.2% in the year to June, according to the National Statistic Committee, meanwhile the government is forecasting 2011 inflation of as much as 39%.  The USD-Belarussian ruble exchange rate has double on the black market, rising to as much as 7,000 per dollar (approx. 6,000 in July).

Recently the Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, replaced central bank chief, Pyotr Prokopovich; who had been on leave following health issues, with Nadezhda Ermakova.  Nadezhda Ermakova was formerly head of Belarus's largest lender, Belarusbank.  Yuri Alymov had been acting central bank chairman.  Belarus has recently signed emergency loan deals with Russia, worth at least $3 billion, and has requested loans of up to $8 billion from the IMF, as it deals with an economic and currency crisis.


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