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Enough sources to pay off, service Belarus' state debt in 2019

Economy 26.06.2019 | 15:27
Maksim Yermolovich. An archive photo
Maksim Yermolovich. An archive photo

MINSK, 26 June (BelTA) – Belarus has ample sources for paying off and servicing the state debt in 2019. Some headway has been secured into the next year, BelTA learned from Belarusian Finance Minister Maksim Yermolovich on 26 June.

The official sketched out prospects of paying off and servicing the state debt. “Despite the tax maneuver and other macroeconomic risks we are quite confident about our prospects of paying off and servicing the state debt this year and the next one,” he said. According to Maksim Yermolovich, the year 2019 has ample sources. “We've also made some headway into refinancing our commitments in 2020,” the finance minister added.

Maksim Yermolovich made a few comments about progress in negotiations on a Belarusian-Russian $630 million loan agreement. This loan and credit cooperation as a whole are tied to the integration cooperation agenda. “Once we come up with a general picture of the mechanisms, integration tools, we will deal with matters of credit interaction in a broader format, along the entire schedule of payments to the Russian government,” he explained.

If Belarus receives the loan this year, it will be transferred to the gold and foreign exchange reserves and will be spent on honoring commitments of 2020 and 2021. The finance minister also did not rule out the possibility that in that case Belarus may scrap plans to float eurobonds in 2020. According to the official, Belarus has no restrictions on entering the eurobonds market today. He believes such conditions will stay in place next year, too. Maksim Yermolovich added he saw no risks with regard to financing external state debt commitments in the current economic situation.

Maksim Yermolovich noted that Belarus had made preparations to substitute the Russian loan with other sources. Belarus was close to signing a framework agreement with the China Development Bank in April. The Finance Ministry revised its plans on penetrating the home market to float forex-nominated bonds and arranged additional issues. “We've raised a volume of assets, which exceeds the annual volume we can raise on the home market. We've raised $500 million while the target was $370 million,” the finance minister said.

Belarus has actually gone beyond what the Russian intergovernmental loan may give although the loan still looks appealing. Its interest rate matches the conditions, on which Russia borrows money on foreign markets. The interest rates Belarus can secure are higher than that for now. Maksim Yermolovich said he was confident that in the future Belarus will be able to borrow money abroad on terms as good as Russia's.

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