EurAsEC to decide on $800 mln bailout tranche to Belarus on June 4

EurAsEC, a regional economic grouping of ex-Soviet republics led by Russia, will decide on the disbursement of the first $800 million bailout tranche to Belarus, on June 4 Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Tuesday.

“We have completed the preparation…for making the decision to issue the credit to Belarus from the EurAsEC anticrisis fund,” Kudrin told a government meeting.

The Belarusian ruble has suffered a collapse in the first quarter of this year, due to the combined pressure of a large trade deficit, generous wage increases and loans granted by the government ahead of the December 2010 presidential elections, which in turn spurred strong demand for foreign currency.

The Belarusian central bank devalued the ruble on Monday to 4,930 per dollar from 3,155. The government has applied for a $1 billion loan from Russia and a $2 billion loan from EurAsEC to stabilize the currency market.

“In 2011, $1.24 billion will be disbursed out of $3 billion at Belarus’ request,” Kudrin said. “The first tranche will be sent within a week after the anticrisis fund makes the decision.”

Kudrin said that EurAsEC’s aid was conditional on Minsk privatizing $7.5 billion worth of Belarus’ state property in the next three years.

“We have agreed that the privatization sum will be no less than $2.5 billion annually, or a total of $7.5 billion of privatization assets must be presented,” he said.

MOSCOW, May 24 (RIA Novosti) 

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