Belarus Plans New Ruble Devaluation

The Belarusian government may soon devaluate the country’s currency by some 80 percent to 15,000 rubles per dollar from the current rate of 8,260 rubles per dollar, local media reported on Monday citing a source in the country’s Central Bank.

The devaluation is likely to happen after the average salary hits $500 in Belarusian ruble equivalent.

At a private meeting recently held at the Belarusian Central Bank, top officials forecast that the future salary increase to $500 could cost the country $11.8 billion this year, while demand for foreign currency in Belarus has been growing since June.

The National Bank of Belarus was unavailable for comment.

The government might freeze bank deposits and limit cash withdrawal operations this October to control the implementation of the reform, the source also said.

The Belarusian ruble came under inflationary pressure in early 2011 due to a large trade deficit and generous wage increases and loans granted by the government ahead of the December 2010 presidential elections, which brought President Alexander Lukashenko back to office for a fourth term.

The country’s deteriorating economic and financial situation earlier prompted Belarus to seek financial aid from the International Monetary Fund, Russia and the EurAsEC member states.


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