Updated at 16:42,06-12-2016

Belarus' gold and foreign exchange reserves should be at least $8 billion

Additional measures should be taken to prevent Belarus' gold and foreign exchange reserves from dropping below $8 billion, Nadzeya Yermakova, head of the National Bank of Belarus (NBB), said during Wednesday's meeting of the Council of Ministers.

The measures are necessary because of the current foreign economic risks and the need to make foreign currency payments this year and draw in foreign investment, Ms. Yermakova said. That is why the implementation of the Eurasian Economic Community's stabilization program is necessary not only for receiving another tranche of its $3-billion loan, she stressed.

The government's 2011-15 social and economic development program requires the reserves to increase to three months worth of imports, or $18 billion, Ms. Yermakova said.

In 2013, the National Bank will gradually reduce its presence in the country's exchange market to alleviate inflation pressures, she said. As a result, the stability of the national currency will mainly depend on the ability of the government to ensure a balanced macroeconomic policy, a tight monetary policy, and a disciplined fiscal policy, she said.
The inflation rate is forecast to be 12 percent next year, Ms. Yermakova added.

Belarus' gold and foreign exchange reserves reportedly shrank by $99.3 million in July 2012 to $8,230.2 million as of August 1.