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23 Mar 2020

Belarus considering restructuring part of external state debt

Belarus considering restructuring part of external state debt
Dmitry Krutoi

MINSK, 23 March (BelTA) – Belarus is considering restructuring some part of its external state debt, BelTA learned from First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Dmitry Krutoi.

According to Dmitry Krutoi, proposals to restructure part of the external state debt have been put forward. “Those credit lines we took on standard terms… We will try to get in touch with partners regardless of quarantine restrictions and the rest in order to submit proposals on restructuring part of the external debt,” the official said. “Only credit lines from international financial organizations (the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the European Investment Bank) have been discussed. No default situation. We honor all our external debt commitments as usual. The matter has no relation to eurobonds at all.”

As an example he mentioned the World Bank, which had declared it would grant direct aid, including for the sake of dealing with consequences of the coronavirus situation. “We have not asked the bank for this kind of money. But I think we could work with the bank to discuss the credit lines,” Dmitry Krutoi noted.

Speaking about prospects of cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, Dmitry Krutoi reminded that due to its own rules the IMF declines to negotiate loans or new country programs during election campaigns. “We are going to meet with IMF representatives after the election and discuss the matter,” Dmitry Krutoi explained.

Dmitry Krutoi also made a few comments about the Belarusian-Russian agreements on oil supplies. He appealed for caution and urged to wait for final decisions. “The first quarter of the year is over now, this is why we have yet to evaluate technical capabilities of the oil refineries. Whether they will be able to process all of that or not,” he specified.

BelTA reported earlier that Russia has fully endorsed Belarus’ proposals on oil acquisition. On 21 March Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko hosted a government conference to discuss a number of matters relating to the acquisition of crude oil, the workload of Belarusian oil refineries, efforts to satisfy the domestic demand for oil products, and export shipments. Chairman of the Belarusian state petrochemical concern Belneftekhim Andrei Rybakov stated after the government conference that work is in progress to put together a package of the raw materials the Belarusian oil refineries will use in Q2 2020. Participants of the conference discussed various proposals from suppliers from the Russian Federation and continued work to procure oil from alternative sources. It is necessary to put together the entire raw materials package for Belarusian oil refineries within one week so that the refineries could steadily and effectively operate for the entire second quarter of the year. The refineries should have enough oil to satisfy the home demand and execute foreign contracts.

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