Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Forecasts come true: Minsk faces troubles with foreign currency

Currency exchange offices in Minsk dont have dollars to sell even in the morning.

The National Bank has recommended commercial banks to provide cash replenishment. So, according to the press secretary of the National Bank Anatoly Drazdou, the National Bank tries to prevent panic at the currency exchange market, ""Salidarnasts"" writes. What has caused a wave of rumours having led to sharp rise in demand on foreign currency?

Queues to buy foreign currency can be seen at foreign exchange offices and banks. Buying dollars and euros is often connected with problems sometimes people have to wait a long time unless someone sells currency to a bank.

"The National Bank has sent a letter to banks recommending replenishing cash in order to prevent panic at the market of foreign exchange cash," Anatoly Drazdou said emphasizing that the National Bank didnt impose and didnt plan to impose any restrictions at the foreign exchange cash market.

Drazdou stated that a tendency of supply of foreign currency from individuals that could be seen during last two months has changed to demand for foreign currency.

"Individuals have begun buying foreign currency, so the demand exceeds supply at the market now. Certain banks are not prepared for foreign currency demand growth and this explains cases of deficit of foreign cash in foreign exchange offices," A. Drazdou said. So, "foreign currency deficit has been caused by sluggishness of certain banks," he concluded.

It can be supposed that sluggishness of banks is not the only reason for the turmoil. Two weeks ago, when, as Drazdou states, the demand exceeded the supply, there appeared information about a secret order of the National Bank recommending the commercial banks not to sell currency to Belarusian importers. Though Anatoly Drazdou told on May 18 "the National Bank didnt issue any orders restricting foreign currency selling at exchange market and at kerb market", non-cash foreign exchange remained paralyzed for three days, experts say.

Its still difficult to find foreign currency in exchange offices in Minsk. For example, a queue was standing to an exchange office on Victory square at 8.15 a.m., "Komsomolskaya Pravda v Belarusi" writes.

Im looking for foreign cash around the city, I need cash to conclude a contract, a young man in a suit carrying a briefcase said. I have to spend so much time!

Do they have any cash? We are probably standing in vain, impatient clients are worrying.

They will have, one of them says. I sell cash.

A queue to an exchange office on Yakub Kolas square wasnt shorter, but the office didnt have any cash at all. Departments of the biggest Belarusian banks situated on Independence Avenue and an exchange office near the Art Palace have no currency, too.

Visit us tomorrow, well sell you even 1500, they said.

But the situation didnt improve on Thursday. Three banks didnt have dollars to sell. A bank in Platonau Street was able to sell only 200 dollars, and an exchange office near the Central Store Department found only 500 dollars at 11.00 a.m.