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19 May 2015

IMF welcomes Belarus’ steps to increase exchange rate flexibility

MINSK, 19 May (BelTA) – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) welcomes Belarus’ plans to increase the flexibility of the currency exchange rate, reads the statement of the IMF Executive Board in connection with the completion of the Article IV consultations with the Republic of Belarus, BelTA has learned.

The IMF Directors welcomed the authorities’ intention to make the exchange rate more flexible, and called for further steps towards exchange rate flexibility to protect the reserves and ensure adequate adjustment in the volatile external environment. “Directors also recommended that the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus fully implement a money-targeting framework that is focused on bringing down inflation to single digits,” the IMF press release runs.

The Belarusian central bank announced its intention to move towards further strengthening of the flexibility of the exchange rate. In particular, the National Bank is busy preparing to switch to a mechanism of a continuous double foreign exchange auction. In 2015 the central regulator also introduced a money-targeting framework for the country’s monetary and credit policy.

The IMF Directors called for containing wage increases in 2015. In the medium term, wage developments should closely follow productivity growth.

As was informed, Belarus has already undertaken a number of measures in this area. In 2014 the Council of Ministers adopted resolution No.744 to peg wage increases to productivity growth. During his recent visit to the Minsk Tractor Works the Belarus President stated that control over prices will remain in effect in Belarus due to limited salary raise options.

The IMF Directors also noted the authorities’ interest in a new Fund-supported program. “Recognizing the benefits it could bring to the country, Directors underscored that any future arrangement would require a credible and strong commitment at the highest level to a comprehensive package of deep structural reforms and consistent macroeconomic policies. They looked forward to continued close engagement with the authorities on these issues,” the press release said.

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