Belarus ended year with cash reserves of $7.3 billion

Minsk managed to boost its reserves substantially through a new bond issue and a loan from Russia

(bne IntelliNews) – Belarus’ gross international reserves (GIR) ended 2017 at $7.3bn, according to the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus (NBRB).

The republic managed to boost its reserves with a $1.4bn bond issue in 2017 that was well received by investors and helped cover all its refinancing needs of $3.4bn in 2018. The bond was in two parts. The yield of the five-year tranche, which raised $800mn, was 7.125%, with the 10-year tranche raising $600mn at 7.625%. Aggregate investor demand for the securities exceeded $3.1bn. Belarus has now mandated Citigroup and Raiffeisen Bank International for further investor meetings in the US and Europe.

Minsk also received a $700mn loan from Russia in 2017. And there is an expected allocation of three additional disbursements from the Russian-led Eurasian Fund for Stabilisation and Development (EFSD) by the end of 2018 totalling $600mn.

Belarus will pay off between $800mn and $900mn of foreign currency obligations in 2018, Belarus’ First Deputy Finance Minister Maksim Yermolovich said during the Belarusian investment forum on 28 September.

In December 2017, the country’s gold and foreign currency reserves fell by $98.4mn (1.3%) following the November growth by $18.4mn (0.2%), BelTA reports, as the Belarusian government and the National Bank of Belarus had to honour more than $501mn worth of domestic and foreign commitments.

Belarus’ gold and foreign exchange reserves were also bolstered thanks to the budget revenues – including revenues from selling government bonds nominated in foreign currency by the central bank and the finance ministry – export duties on oil and oil products, and the increased cost of the monetary gold.

The country’s monetary policy for 2017 envisaged the growth of gold and forex reserves by at least $500mn. On the whole, the growth of gold and forex reserves made up $2.388bn (48.5%).

The government is also actively selling bonds on the domestic market. Sales of government bonds netted nearly $550mn in Belarus in 2017, representatives of the Belarusian Finance Ministry told BelTA. From 1 January through 29 December 2017 the domestic market bought $395.1mn, €51mn, and BNR200mn worth of long-term bonds of the Belarusian government. The Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange helped sell as much as BNR267.6mn and €50mn worth of bonds.

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