Goods shortages as Belarusians fight with ruble devaluation

Belarusian ruble has been losing its value every day. Belarusians are buying household appliances, building materials and food products with a long-term validity. Residents of Belarus buy mostly salt, frozen fish, canned food. The most disadvantaged are the elderly. The value of their pensions during the week declined by about 70 euro and is still falling. Queues formed in front of the ATMs in Belarusian cities, as a consequence of the rumors that banks will limit cash withdrawals.

The Belarusian authorities hoped for a $6 billion credit from Russia in order to stabilize the Belarusian ruble, but the Russians have promised only $3 billion over three years.

Meanwhile, the Belarusian authorities seem not to notice the problem of rising prices. Belarusian deputy prime minister Siarhej Rumas, said during yesterday’s meeting with journalists that food prices are actually falling and people are buying out only a few types of goods.

According to the state Statistical Committee of Belarus since the beginning of the year there has been a price increase of 15 percent, and just in April the prices rose by 4.5 percent. According to the Stanislau Bohdankievich, the former head of the National Bank of Belarus, the $1 billion loan which Belarus will receive this year from Russia, will not reduce inflation. “Belarus need every quarter another $1 billion to stabilize the current account” – he added. In his opinion, to save the situation, serious economic reforms and budget cut are needed.


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