bne IntelliNews -
The Belarussian Central Bank said on January 5 it was lowering its official rate for the Belarussian ruble versus the dollar by around 7%, in its latest step to protect the national currency from the market turmoil affecting neighboring Russia, writes BelTA. The bank said it was reducing the currency's official rate to 12,740 rubles per dollar starting on January 6 from 11,900 rubles on January 5.
In addition, the levy collected from foreign currency purchases by individuals will be reduced to 10% as from 6 January, the National Bank said. The decision was made by the National Bank management taking into account the reduction of the tax on purchasing foreign currency via the currency and stock exchange to 10% as of 5 January and changes of the official exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble against the dollar.
According to BelTA's source, the steps taken by the government and the central bank are part of a set of measures meant to normalise the situation in Belarus' financial sector. The simultaneous reduction of the tax on purchasing foreign currency via the currency and stock exchange and the reduction of the official exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble against the dollar are designed to bring the exchange rates in different segments of the national currency market closer. The National Bank expects that the move will not result in an increase in the actual exchange rate used to sell foreign currency to individuals and corporations.
BelTA writes that the situation on the country's foreign currency market remains stable. Belarusians purchase and sell foreign currency as usual. Most of the currency exchange offices and banks are well-supplied with foreign currency. Besides, foreign currency sales have been exceeding foreign currency purchases lately, noted the source. The last few days of 2014 witnessed a massive increase in fixed-term national-currency deposits of individuals.
Another former Soviet republic, Turkmenistan, has also devalued its currency it was reported on January 5 in response to the Russian ruble's decline.
From January 1, Central Asian gas producer Turkmenistan devalued its manat currency by around 19% to 3.5 to the dollar, according to the central bank's website, Reuters reported.
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