Belarus has received $2.5 billion from Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom from the sale of the remaining 50 percent stake in the national gas pipeline operator Beltransgaz, the National Bank of Belarus said on Thursday.
“According to preliminary data, Belarus’ gold and foreign exchange reserves increased by $2.74 billion in November. The increase was facilitated by the receipt of $2.5 billion from the sale of Beltransgaz shares, and also by the conversion of non-reserve assets into reserve assets,” the bank said in a statement.
Under the deal reached last week between Moscow and Minsk, Gazprom has acquired 100 percent of Beltransgaz, in which it already owned a 50-percent stake.
Belarus’ international reserves reached $7.38 billion as of December 1, 2011, the bank also said.
The Belarusian ruble experienced pressure from a large trade deficit, generous wage increases and loans granted by the government ahead of the December 2010 presidential elections, which spurred strong demand for foreign currency in the first quarter of this year. As a result, Belarus’ central bank has devalued the ruble to 4,930 per dollar from 3,155.