Belarusian Finance Ministry working on borrowing $700m from Russia
Following the meeting of the presidents of Belarus and Russia on 3 April, the work to borrow $700 million from the Russian Federation government for the sake of refinancing Belarus' debts is nearing completion.
Apart from that, the Belarusian Finance Ministry does not rule out the possibility of floating government bonds on foreign financial markets for the sake of borrowing money on commercial terms.
The finance minister explained that every year Belarus refinances part of the state debt the country is supposed to pay off.
Belarus will have to pay off an external debt of $1 billion this year and redeem $800 million worth of eurobonds in January 2018.
“If we use only revenues of the state budget to make these payments, it will be equal to withdrawing the same amount of resources from the national economy. This is why we rely on refinancing.
“The Finance Ministry is constantly on the lookout for optimal loans from the point of view of costs and time,” said the official.
Vladimir Amarin said that the state loan from Russia and a loan from the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development (EFSD) are considered as the main sources of external refinancing in 2017.
In 2016 a credit agreement was signed with the EFSD on granting a $2 billion loan to Belarus in seven tranches in 2016-2018. The fund can allocate $1 billion to Belarus in 2017. So far Belarus has received $1.1 billion, including $300 million in 2017.
At the same time Vladimir Amarin mentioned Belarus' interest in refinancing its debts using resources of international financial organizations because such loans are available on comfortable terms.
Apart from external loans the Belarusian Finance Ministry works hard on the domestic financial market.
At present government bonds nominated in foreign currency are in demand among investors — corporations and individuals alike. In January-April 2017 the Finance Ministry sold $360 million worth of government bonds on the home market. ■