16 January 2018, Tuesday, 10:42

Belarus to face currency deficit and sharp devaluation

It may be caused by Russia's refusal to deliver 23 million tonnes of oil to Belarus in 2013.

Oil products export gives the Belarusian budget about 40% of currency proceeds. The country can see catastrophic consequences if Russia supplies only 18.5 millions tonnes of oil to Belarus, economist Barys Zhaliba says to Euroradio.  

“It will undermine our balance of trade. We will have a large negative balance. As for the consequences, let's recall the year 2011: pressure on the currency market, currency deficit and a possible devaluation of the Belarusian ruble,” the expert is confident.

Russia offered to deliver 18.5 million tonnes of oil to Belarus in 2013, but Belarus wants to get 23 million. The Belarusian head of state said on December 21 the supply of 23 million tonnes had been agreed.

Zhaliba thinks the refusal of Russia can be explained by Belarus's failure to perform its previous promises to the Kremlin, for example, annual $2.5b privatisation of state property. The expert thinks the price of the state property is overrated by official Minsk. Russia, which is considered to be the main potential  buyer of the Belarusian state property, doesn't like it. Russia was also offended by Lukashenka's untimely statements.

Zhaliba advises not to look for additional oil “somewhere over the sea”, but try to reach an agreement with Russia by any means.