Belarus international reserves up by 9.5% in February to $7,093bn

Belarus international reserves up by 9.5% in February to $7,093bn
Belarus international reserves up by 9.5% in February to $7,093bn
By bne IntelliNews March 7, 2018

The foreign exchange reserves of Belarus rose by $616mn, or 9% month-on-month to $7,093bn in February on the back of successful Eurobond placement, following a 11.5% m/m decline in January, the National Bank of Belarus (NBB) said in a statement on March 7.

February's result was mainly attributed to $600mn placement of 12-year Eurobond with 6.2% coupon. The move followed January's debt repayments totalling $1.4bn, specifically, the repayment of Eurobonds worth around $800mn and $227mn to Chinese banks, as a result of which the nation's foreign exchange reserves declined by $838mn, to $6.477bn.

According to official data, the external state debt of Belarus totalled $15.8bn as of February 1 ($600mn Eurobond placement was not included), down by $950.5mn or 5.7% from early January.

Belarus is going to borrow $1bn on international capital markets annually, the nation's First Deputy Finance Minister Maksim Yermolovich said recently.

In January, Fitch Ratings upgraded Belarus's Long-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) to 'B' from 'B-'; the outlook is Stable. According to the agency, the nation's near-term external financing risks have declined due to the pre-financing in 2017 of payments due in 2018 through market and official borrowing, and due to an increase in international reserves.

Yermolovich added that Belarus will pay about $3.8bn of debt in 2018. "Another focus of our work is on the improvement of the quality of the debt portfolio," he said in an interview. "Here, the efforts are concentrated on finding new loan instruments, improving the availability of resources, accelerating the placement of government bonds on stock markets."