Belarus’ total external debt increased by 27.3 percent this year to a record high of almost $19.3 billion on October 1, according to the National Bank.
The debt rose by $1.67 billion, or 9.5 percent, in the third quarter, the Bank said in a statement on Wednesday.
The external debt of governmental agencies jumped by 27.2 percent to $4.57 billion on October 1. The debt of the country’s monetary control agencies soared by 490 percent to $2.52 billion and of commercial banks by 1.3 percent to almost $3.12 billion.
The debt of other economic sectors increased by 13.6 percent to $998.6 million in the first nine months. Direct investment, in the form of inter-company loans, rose by 5.4 percent to $758.6 million, said the National Bank.
In October, Belarus’ total external debt went up by at least $699.5 million, the amount of the third stand-by loan tranche transferred by the International Monetary Fund to the country.
Government officials earlier played down the country’s external debt, saying that it posed no serious threat to the economy.
"The foreign loans that we`ve taken are quite comfortable for Belarus," Finance Minister Andrey Kharkavets said last week. The loans are to be repaid within about nine years on the average and there are deferment periods for them and that is why debt servicing in 2010 will mainly be limited to interest payments, he noted.
Belarus’ draft 2010 budget law projects the country’s foreign loans at $1.1 billion next year. In particular, the government expects to receive around $800 million from the International Monetary Fund within their stand-by loan arrangement.