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NBRB: No dramatic change in Belarusian ruble exchange rate in 2013

MINSK, 26 December (BelTA) – There are no reasons to expect a drastic change in the exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble in 2013, Chairperson of the Board of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus (NBRB) Nadezhda Yermakova said during an online conference on the website of BelTA on 26 December.

“Although the National Bank does not set guidelines for the exchange rate, there are no grounds to expect a dramatic change in the exchange rate. The stability of the currency market and the exchange rate is underpinned by the external and internal balance of the economy. Both the government and the National Bank work to maintain this balance,” Nadezhda Yermakova said.

She reminded that the exchange rate is shaped by the demand and supply of foreign currency on the domestic market. “Therefore, everybody needs to reconcile themselves to the fact that a certain volatility of the exchange rate in this or that direction is absolutely normal in the market economy,” she explained. Nadezhda Yermakova added that in 2013 the National Bank will keep gradually reducing its presence on the currency market.

The NBRB chief pointed to generally positive trends on the domestic currency market. Over the eleven months this year economic operators sold $1.5 billion more foreign currency than they bought (including almost $210 million over the last two months). In her words, households buy more foreign currency than they sell, although in recent months the net purchase of foreign currency has been decreasing. In November the demand for foreign currency dropped by more than 20% compared to October. This is in many ways attributed to the tough position of the National Bank on the refinancing of banks, which allowed increasing profitability of deposits in the national currency and discouraging people from opening deposits in foreign currency, the NBRB chief explained.

Since the beginning of the year demand deposits in all currencies have increased by Br21.83 trillion or by 51.61% and amounted to Br64.14 trillion as of 15 December 2012. Of them Belarusian ruble-denominated deposits expanded by Br5.42 trillion, or by 57.89% and made up Br14.78 trillion as of 15 December 2012. Demand deposits in foreign currency in US dollar equivalent rose by $1.8 billion, or by 45.64% and made up $5.75 billion as of 15 December 2012.

“In 2013 the development of the national market of loans and deposits will be determined by the inflation rate, the refinancing rate and consequently the interest rates on deposits and loans,” Nadezhda Yermakova said.

She informed that the interbank loan market is still experiencing considerable fluctuations of interest rates on loans in the national currency. Therefore, the National Bank will keep working to iron out these fluctuations in the direction of the refinancing rate.