18 January 2018, Thursday, 14:42

What Belarusian depositors should expect in near future?


Experts believe that the creeping devaluation is to continue, and the authorities will try to hold citizens’ deposits in banks.

Many Belarusians continue to play deposit roulette with the state. The situation of catastrophic shrinking of gold and currency reserves (in June taken alone the gold and currency reserves of the country not including the bridge loan of the VTB have shrunk by $967 mln) and obscure prospects of receiving a loan from the Russian government once again bring the bank system of Belarus to the line when depositors are wary about the future of their deposits in banks because of a possible one-time devaluation and freezing of accounts.

The National bank of Belarus has not published the statistics on broad money supply and dynamics of population deposits in national currency in June yet, however in May deposits of the population in Belarusian rubles have decreased by 2.7%, fixed term deposits of the population have sunk by 0.5%.

Despite the government’s vows about currency stability, citizens continue to buy foreign currency.

Charter97.org has addressed experts with a request to give recommendations to Belarusian depositors how to act in this situation.

According to the former head of the National Bank of Belarus Stanislau Bahdankevich, “ruble accounts are to depreciate, as the galloping inflation in our country goes on.”

“Today it is higher than in Ukraine which is at war, higher than in Russia and Kazakhstan. The problem of inflation is not solved, as well as the problem of activating the economy and transition to a more effective model of economic development. That is why the Belarusian ruble and deposits are to lose value, and the creeping devaluation is to continue,” the former head of the National Bank believes.

A financial analyst of Alpari official partner in Minsk Vadzim Josub is more optimistic. He thinks that “until the end of the year, or even until the presidential election of the next year the authorities are going to strain every effort for no sudden changes at the financial market to happen.”

“Devaluation is to continue at the same gradual pace, and in this context considering the interest on rubles deposits, one can be more or less unalarmed about ruble deposits,” Vadzim Josub says.

Stanislau Bahdankevich agrees with him: “I think that one should not expect one-time landslide devaluation this year.”

Leanid Zlotnikau, Candidate of Economic sciences, is not as optimistic as his colleagues.

“The gold and currency reserve has been increased indeed, but at a smaller degree than this loan. And no growth of the gold and currency reserve is expected this year any more. So in case a state loan from Russia will be received in autumn, these short-term loans are to be repaid from that. Besides, payments of the state, of enterprises and commercial banks this year are higher than last year by about $2 bn,” the expert says.

“That is why the gold and currency reserves we have would do until autumn, and after that a highly unstable and critical situation related to repaying debts will emerge, unless privatization of major enterprises and considerable money receipts take place. But it is improbable. So instability of the system and possibility of another devaluation in autumn are high,” Leanid Zlotnikau warns.