Particular attention was paid in the first quarter of 2009 to lending for the construction of housing, Pyotr Prakapovich, head of the National Bank of Belarus, told reporters in Minsk on April 30.A total of 1,327,300 square meters of housing was built in Belarus in the first three months of the year, or 100,000 square meters more than in the same period of 2008, Mr. Prakapovich said. The National Bank works to ensure that housing construction in Belarus rises from six million square meters in 2009 to nine million square meters in 2010, he said. Almost all of Belarus' economic performance indicators have been in line with the conditions for receiving a $2.46-billion stand-by loan from the International Monetary Fund, Mr. Prakapovich noted. The target for net gold and foreign exchange reserves was the only one that was not met in the first three months, with Belarus falling short of the projection by $210 million, he said. It had been impossible to predict the severity of the global economic crisis, Mr. Prakapovich said. "No one had forecast such a slump in our exports, currency proceeds and so on," he said. Mr. Prakapovich downplayed the lower-than-expected international reserves and expressed confidence that the IMF would not criticize the National Bank's performance. The NBB met or exceeded the other targets, including the projection for net domestic assets, and avoided a budget deficit, Mr. Prakapovich said.