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Belarus hopes to attract $1bn in international capital markets annually

Economy 19.02.2018 | 11:49

MINSK, 19 February (BelTA) – The Finance Ministry of Belarus hopes to borrow $1 billion in international capital markets annually, First Deputy Finance Minister Maksim Yermolovich said in an interview with the magazine Finances, Accounting, Audit, BelTA has learned.

According to the first deputy minister, the current program for the next three years envisages both the repayment of the national debt and its refinancing. “We will have to refinance the debt of about $1 billion annually. The focused efforts to build relationships and to gain access to the international borrowing markets led to positive results. Belarus has gained a guaranteed access to the markets of Europe, the United States and Russia. China will be on this list soon. “The diversification of opportunities to attract external financing through the well-developed infrastructure of the international capital market gives hopes for attracting $1 billion annually. This means Belarus will have enough money for timely settlement with partners in the medium term,” said Maksim Yermolovich.

The Finance Ministry plans to achieve an annual budget surplus of $400 to $700 million in the midterm in order to repay the national debt. “All the money saved will be used to repay the state debt within the next three years. Besides, the currency balance of the national budget, accumulated over the past years, will be used for the purpose as well,” he said.

In 2018, Belarus will pay about $3.8 billion of debt. Maksim Yermolovich stated that much is done in the country to keep the level of the public debt below 45% of GDP. “Another focus of our work is on the improvement of the quality of the debt portfolio. Here, the efforts are concentrated on finding new loan instruments, improving the availability of resources, accelerating the placement of government bonds on stock markets,” he explained.

In 2017, the Finance Ministry implemented an ambitious loan program (including $1.4 billion earned from floating eurobonds). “As a result, the national debt increased by $3 billion, which created a reserve for the unconditional fulfillment of obligations in 2018. By the end of 2017, Belarus' foreign currency reserves amounted to $7.3 billion. The Finance Ministry has the right to use these resources to honor any of foreign commitments,” the first deputy minister added.

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