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04 September 2020, 13:35

Technical issues blamed for lack of foreign currency in exchange offices in Belarus

Denis Goreglyad. An archive photo
Denis Goreglyad. An archive photo

MINSK, 4 September (BelTA) – Occasional deficit of foreign currency in exchange offices in Belarus is attributed to technical issues, head of the main department of operations in the financial markets at the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus (NBRB) Denis Goreglyad said in an interview with the SB.Belarus Segodnya newspaper, BelTA has learned.

“This year has seen occasional deficit of dollars in cash in exchange offices. This was due to purely technical, not fundamental, reasons; Belarusian banks work with their European partners using foreign cash. In March the air travel with the EU and the USA was suspended, which led to the deficit of cash in U.S. dollars in European banks: there was no physical opportunity to bring dollars from across the Atlantic Ocean. At the same time, euros were in excess,” Denis Goreglyad said.

Air travel has resumed, but due to a reduced passenger flow, small jets are mostly in operation now. “It makes it harder to promptly transport a great amount of cash. One should not forget that our banks have a limited number of CIT vehicles. Thus, during a sharp rise in demand, banks are not able to maintain a good supply of foreign currency in exchange offices and ATM machines,” the representative of the National Bank informed.

Denis Goreglyad noted that handling cash means additional costs for banks compared to cashless transactions. “Banks determine their exchange rates based on this concept. Sometimes the purchase price exceeds the exchange quotation. However, this does not mean that banks cannot buy foreign currency at the exchange market or over-the-counter market. The thing is that they try to balance the demand and supply to be able to rely on their own equity and avoid situations when they might need to support their transactions by foreign currency or Belarusian rubles. When the situation on the market gets back to normal, banks reduce exchange rates without notifications or requests from the National Bank,” he said.

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