Belarus wants $1 bn loan, but Russia grants less

The Russian government will allocate $630 mln loan to Minsk in 2019, Belarus’ Finance Minister Maksim Yеrmalovich said on Monday.

“The parties are yet to draw up an agreement. This will be done next year. No new decisions are expected from both the sides,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes him.

As reported earlier, the Belarusian authorities asked the Kremlin for a $1 bn state loan to refinance part of the country’s external debt. In 2019, Belarus will have to repay $3.6 bn.

In the wake of September’s talks in Sochi, Alyaksandr Lukashenka stated that Russia did not refuse to grant another credit.

“We discussed the question of refinancing the $1 bn debt. We met with no refusal,” he said.

Later, Belarusian Prime Minister Syarhei Rumas said that the neighbouring country offered to refinance only repayments that were expected to go to Russia in 2019.

“The Belarusian side is seeking to expand the loan a little bit and asking Russia to refinance repayments to be made to the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development,” he added.

In turn, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the loan will be provided to refinance the $630 million loan allocated to Belarus earlier.

In August, Reuters reported that Russia intended to cut supplies of duty free oil and gas to Belarus. According to the agency, Moscow was about to block paying the last tranche of the Eurasian Stabilization and Development Fund loan and suspend transferring $1 bn of the Russian loan to Minsk. In 2019, Russia may not offer an expected new loan to Belarus, Reuters stressed.

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