What Belarusians should do with their savings?
On December 12 refinancing rate rose from 40 to 45% per annum, the dollar fx rate fell to it's month's lowest level, the future of eurozone is uncertain even for the EU Member States, and inflation in Belarus amounted to 104% for 11 months of 2011.
Ordinary Belarusians should show their sharpness and serious skills to understand such an avalanche of economic information, and at least to keep their savings.
Should one convert foreign currency savings into Belarusian rubles? Is it possible to earn on current high rates of Belarusian ruble deposits? Whether the eurozone is in such a critical position, as they told via Belarusian official news channels?
These questions were answered in an interview with UDF.BY by the economist Sergei Chaly, head of the Association of Small and Medium Business Sergei Balykin and former head of the National Bank Stanislav Bogdankevich.
Sergei Balykin, head of the Association of Small and Medium Business:
"I would not recommend to urgently take the existing currency and buy Belarusian rubles to put them on deposit at interest. Bank rates in rubles are still below the inflation, and an improvement of national currency rate is an artificial phenomenon caused by the inflow of funds from privatization. In the medium term Belarusian ruble rate is going to fall, therefore any foreign currency is preferable.
If someone wants to play "Belarusian roulette", of course one can try. Free sums in rubles can be put on a short-term deposit, but it won't be possible to earn some fantastic money.
With regard to problems in the eurozone, we would gladly have their problems! Even if the abolition of euro as the EU's currency happens, it won't happen at once. One shouldn't expect a major devaluation, too. Although, of course, we must differentiate our foreign currency savings, something to keep in dollars, part in euros, and some, for example, in litas".
Sergei Chaly, economist:
"Fundamentally, nothing has changed since September, since a single session on the Currency and Stock Exchange. Ruble deposits are now the most attractive investment due to the high refinancing rate and relative stabilization of the foreign exchange market and the economy as a whole.
I think, prior to the sowing campaign, there won't be any hazards with the Belarusian economy, so the short-term ruble deposits continues to look very attractive. However, I would not recommend to invest all funds".
Stanislav Bogdankevich, former head of the National Bank:
"Deposits and savings of Belarus' citizens, made in euro or dollars, should be preserved in these currencies. These currencies will continue to be used as a backup, and in a foreseeable future problems will be settled. Global economy simply has no alternatives.
Inflation for the year will amount to 100-120%, while deposit rates are 50-60%. This indicates that ruble deposits are still depreciating. Of course, short-term deposits in the coming year will be beneficial, provided that the authorities would keep its promises, and emissions in 2012 will amount to the promised 7 trillion rubles, also lending of the state projects, as well as the government spending will be reduced. But personally, I have no confidence in the Belarusian authorities and I encourage people to think, but not to chase for short-term profits".