Belarus’ Finance Ministry: Draft agreement on $700 mln Russian loan ready

A draft agreement to attract a $700 million Russian loan is already ready, Belarus’ Deputy Finance Minister Maksim Yermalovich said on Wednesday.

According to the top official, the $700 million intergovernmental loan from the Russian Federation negotiated by the finance ministries will be used to refinance Belarus’ obligations to Russia.

“We have advanced in this work. We have already prepared the draft loan agreement. The fundamental agreement was reached at the level of the heads of state. Today I see it more as a technical job for the finance ministries,”  state-run news agency BelTA quotes him as saying.

The Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development (EFSD) is expected to extend the fourth tranche of the loan to Belarus without delay, the Deputy Finance Minister added. The loan is supposed to be granted to Belarus in seven tranches in 2016-2018.

As of May 1, Belarus’s external debt nearly reached $14 billion, while internal debt is BYN 9.9 bn. This year, Minsk will have to pay $1 bn; in January 2018, $ 800 mln are to be given back for eurobonds.

Belarus is able to pay back only a quarter of its debt, economist Vadzim Iossub said in May.

“In years ahead, the lack of refinancing may lead to full depletion of foreign exchange reserves and, as a result, a complete loss of value by the national currency, as well as declining living standards of our people,” the expert stressed., following BelTA

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