21 April 2019, Sunday, 22:16
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Barys Zhaliba: Ruble fall shows helplessness of Belarusian authorities

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Barys Zhaliba
Photo: Radio Svaboda

The government and the National Bank failed to prevent or slow down a sharp devaluation of the Belarusian ruble.

Doctor of Economics Professor Barys Zhaliba said it in an interview with charter97.org, commenting on the Belarusian ruble rate against foreign currencies.

“The Belarusian ruble devalued during just a week. The speed of the devaluation was several hundreds of rubles a day. It gives us grounds to recall the fall of the Belarusian ruble in the second half of December last year, when we saw a 30% devaluation.

We can say now that we have seen a sharp one-time devaluation. We can speak about percents when the Belarusian ruble hits the bottom.

The Russian ruble demonstrates some signs that the fall is going to stop because the rapid decline in oil prices stopped. These processes will probably slow down the devaluation of the Belarusian ruble. However, the external trends that determine the devaluation of the Belarusian and Russian ruble remain. It does not necessarily mean that oil price has hit the bottom. The decline may go on.

– Does it mean that external factors are the main ones?

– Yes, they determine the situation. The National Bank of Belarus keeps silence. It decided not to change the interest rate and not spend forex reserves, which we don't have, in an attempt to slow down the devaluation. We can say that the National Bank decided to resign itself to its fate and see what will happen to the Russian ruble.

– It turns out that there are no grounds to make excuses that the devaluation could be planned beforehand and was useful for the Belarusian economy because it increases competitive ability of Belarusian products.

– This is nonsense. It couldn't have been planned, because it was caused by the oil and oil products price drop. The fall of the Belarusian ruble will give nothing to the Belarusian economy: the Russian ruble devalued even more, and our exports to Russia won't bring more profit.

This devaluation is a market process. Neither the Belarusian government nor the National Bank are able to slow it down.