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14 September 2021, 13:39

Central bank describes Belarusian banking sector situation amid sanctions as quite stable

The National Bank of the Republic of Belarus. An archive photo
The National Bank of the Republic of Belarus. An archive photo

MINSK, 14 September (BelTA) – The situation in the Belarusian banking industry is rather stable despite the sanctions. Denis Goreglyad, member of the Board of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus (NBRB), Head of the Central Office for Operations on Financial Markets, made the statement during a presentation organized by BelVEB Bank in association with the NBRB to discuss cooperation with Belarusian banks amid sectoral sanctions, BelTA has learned.

According to the BelVEB Bank press service, representatives of the World Bank, China Development Bank, Harbin Bank, the Development Bank, Belagroprombank, Belarusian and Chinese organizations, diplomatic missions, clients of the banks took part in the online event.

Denis Goreglyad described the main trends in the development of the Belarusian banking industry and possibilities for transactions in national currencies amid the sanctions. He remarked that the situation in the banking sector is rather stable considering the sanctions. Meanwhile, there are no restrictions on making transactions and providing services to clients with regard to Belarusian banks.

As for transition of Belarusian enterprises and banks to transactions using national currencies, Denis Goreglyad believes it should be done regardless of the sectoral sanctions. Many commercial entities are ready to do it. For instance, the share of foreign currencies other than U.S. dollars and euros is considerable in Belarus' export (36%) and import (50%). The number of transactions using Chinese yuans is on the rise although their share is rather low for now. Which means there is a potential for considerable growth, including if the swap agreement with the People's Bank of China is renewed.

Speaking about interbank cooperation, Denis Goreglyad stressed that as of 1 July Belarusian commercial banks opened nine correspondent accounts in Chinese yuans in Chinese banks. It allows the Belarusian banks to promptly and properly make payments and transactions in Chinese yuans. Apart from that, the payment system UnionPay is rather well represented in Belarus. UnionPay cards can be used with nearly 1,500 ATMs and over 75,000 payment terminals.

“At the same time we would like to call for expanding cooperation between Belarusian and Chinese banks, for opening interbank credit lines, for expanding the use of trade financing tools and for providing the full range of services regarding transactions in national currencies to clients. The main goal of development of Belarus-China cooperation in banking and finance should be to bring it closer to the level of political cooperation,” Denis Goreglyad concluded.

First Deputy Chairman of the Board of BelVEB Bank Taras Nadolny noted they are ready to share the experience of working in conditions of sectoral sanctions. BelVEB Bank turned 30 in 2021. “The bank has been working in conditions of sectoral sanctions for quite some time,” he said. “We are ready to share our experience and capabilities, find new ways and solutions in the face of new challenges. Sectoral sanctions were introduced against a number of Belarusian banks in 2021. Due to the changing situation, lack of information, uncertainty among our clients and not only our clients natural cautiousness emerges as well as a desire to reduce or stop cooperation. In our opinion, there is no need for that. We have to find new opportunities for working in these conditions,” he stressed.

Kirill Rudy, project manager with the ecosystem development office of BelVEB Bank, a former Belarusian ambassador to China, professor, Doctor of Economics, reminded that Belarus and China had faced sanctions many times. He believes that today it is once again necessary to embrace transactions in national currencies, renew the swap deal between the central banks of Belarus and China for the sake of short-term trade financing, use blockchain technologies and financial crypto platforms.

“In China it is said that flowers bloom in spring on their own. It is autumn now. On the one hand, nothing will grow on its own, we have to cooperate. On the other hand, there is no need for dramatizing the situation. There are good trends regarding economic growth, inflation, forex reserves, the exchange rate, the development of banks. Macroeconomic and financial stability in the country is secured,” Kirill Rudy summed it up.

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