Updated at 17:50,20-04-2017

National Bank says re-paid debt for Russian gas will not affect currency reserve

Euroradio

National Bank says re-paid debt for Russian gas will not affect currency reserve
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The National Bank of Belarus says that the settlment of arrears for Russian gas supplies in 2016 will not affect the country's gold and currency reserves. "Gold and currency reserves will not decrease," First Deputy National Bank Chairman Taras Nadolny is quoted by BELTA as saying. According to him, work is currently in progress to employ other options of attracting resources. “We issue bonds. Finance Ministry is also active on markets. Reserves will not decrease,” Nadolny said. However, he admitted that the arrears for Russian gas were partially settled by the funds from the gold and currency reserve. “But we will compensate the difference,” National Bank Deputy Chairman said. He clarified that the 'current liquidity funds' were used but "it is not treated as reserve assets'.

Belarus fully settled its debt for Russian gas by wiring $726.2 million, according to the April 13 statement by Gazprom. The Belarus authorities considered the price of Russian gas unfair and beginning from early 2016 unanimously began paying less. Moscow started calculating Belarus' debt which Minsk did not recognize. The conflict was resolved on April 3 when Aliaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin met in St Petersburg.

As of April 1, 2017, Belarus' gold and currency reserves amounted to $5 billion 16.1 million. The reserves grew 1.8% by $88.9 million in the first quarter of 2017.