The National Bank of Belarus set new currency exchange rates on January 2, 2009. The dollar rate was Br2,650, the euro rate was Br 3,703, and Russian ruble cost Br90.16. so, the Belarusian ruble has been devalued by 20 per cent.
Since January 2, 2009, the National Bank of Belarus has pegged its ruble to a currency basket, divided equally into dollars, euros and Russian rubles.
The initial ruble value of the currency basket has been set at 960 Belarusian rubles, which corresponds to the level of the bilateral exchange rates of the currencies that form it: 2,650 Belarusian rubles per US dollar, 2,703 rubles per euro, and 90.16 rubles per Russian ruble.
Exchange fluctuations of the Belarusian ruble against each of the currencies (the dollar, the euro and the Russian ruble) are possible due to changes of these foreign currencies to each others, the press service of the National Bank informs.
During 2009, ruble value of the basket will be stable, the National Bank expects. The value of the basket is projected to fluctuate plus/minus five percent from the initial ruble value, with the ruble’s rate against each of the currencies in the basket to change due to changes of these foreign currencies to each others.
Key refinancing rate is to be raised to 14 percent on January 8.
Inevitable devaluation was the result of absence of reforms and losing economic policy of Lukashenka that showed its complete ineffectiveness amid the global financial crisis. Catastrophic disbalance of foreign trade (USD4,747.6 mln) has lead to sharp increase in foreign debt.
That’s why devaluation was one of the requirements to receive a loan of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the first 800-million part of which is expected to be transferred in January 2009. The whole sum of the loan is 2.5 billion dollars. The National Bank of the country notes that a “safety bag” of USD 8-10 billion should be created for stability of the Belarusian financial system.
The Lukashenka’s regime shuffled off the burden of its economic failures on to the Belarusian people.