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International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
The NBRB revised in 2018 its regulation on asset classification and provisioning (the Regulation). One of the main changes was the introduction of a new definition for NPLs based on the current framework of risk groups (RGs). This definition substitutes the previous term “problem assets.” One of the intentions of the replacement is to promote international comparability by using it as a financial soundness indicator (FSI). The reported levels of this new NPLs indicator are, however, relatively low and, more important, much lower than the previous indicator, based on problem assets. The new NPL indicator levels are relatively stable, around 4 percent. The previous indicator was also stable, but the levels were more than three times higher, about 13 percent.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
The NBRB has made substantial progress in improving its forecasting and policy analysis system (FPAS) and integrating it into monetary policy decision-making. The FPAS, and the model-based forecasts and policy analysis, is now well integrated into the policy-making process. Staff are well trained and have become experienced in using the tools developed for policy analysis and forecasting. The forecasting and decision-making process is well structured and has helped increase the two-way interaction between staff and the NBRB board—additional and less formal interaction between staff and board members in between the formal meetings may help enhance the process further.
International Monetary Fund. Statistics Dept.
The contents of this report constitute technical advice provided by the staff of the IMF to the authorities of the Republic of Belarus in response to their request for technical assistance. The principal purposes of the mission were to review with the National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus (Belstat) current data sources; identify data sources that needed to be improved; demonstrate how to construct the tables; and prepare a work plan. The mission noted a few instances where the data could be improved through the provision of more detail or verification that the classification had been done correctly. The mission worked with Belstat staff to show how the currently available data sources should be used to compile sector balance sheets and how to use these data to construct the sector financial accounts. The mission recommended that Belstat prepare the financial balance sheets (FABS) for 2017 using the data presently available. The mission recommended that Belstat staff be encouraged to apply for courses on the FABS, such as those offered by the IMF.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
The National Bank of the Republic of Belarus (NBRB) visited Minsk during for the seventh of the planned eight short-term technical assistance (TA) missions to help the NBRB enhance its modeling, forecasting and policy analysis capacity, and the forecasting and policy analysis system, sponsored by the Swedish International Development Agency. The NBRB is reforming its monetary policy framework in line with recommendations of past IMF TA missions and its Road Map for Transitioning to Inflation Targeting with the aim of eventually adopting inflation targeting (IT). Transitioning to IT would require, among other strengthening the monetary policy forecasting and analysis system (FPAS) and better integrating the core quarterly projection model (QPM) into the decision-making process. The mission was mainly aimed at helping with reviewing the initial conditions and compiling a QPM-based forecast as a part of the NBRB’s September forecasting round. The mission, in addition, worked on strengthening processes within the FPAS.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper takes stock of the current level of dollarization, both in historic and international perspective. By looking at recent measures and international best practice, it draws some recommendations for a successful de-dollarization framework. Belarus has a high level of loan and deposit dollarization as a result of repeated external crises and hyperinflation. Dollarization in Belarus is much higher than many other countries, accounting for various drivers of dollarization. Dollarization has been decreasing but it is still higher than a decade ago. The authorities have been taking welcome steps to liberalize the foreign exchange (FX) market, such as, for example, eliminating the FX surrender requirement and easing the registration procedure for FX transactions. An overarching and publicly communicated national strategy to de-dollarize the economy is a missing piece of the puzzle. Such a strategy would be an important signaling and commitment device and would help educate borrowers about the risks (private and social) of FX borrowing. The strategy would contain an operational roadmap that would also ensure the coherence of existing policies, and coordinate policy and operational steps.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
The Belarusian economy is in a cyclical recovery, inflation is at historically low levels and the exchange rate has been broadly stable. Although macroeconomic policy frameworks have improved, there is a need to reduce deep seated vulnerabilities such as rapidly rising public debt, high dollarization, and limited trade and financing diversification. In addition, reforms of the large state-owned enterprise sector are critical to tackle inefficiencies and increase potential growth. Risks ahead are elevated; notably, Belarus could lose significant oil-related discounts and transfers due to internal tax changes in Russia, but the authorities are confident of a successful outcome to the ongoing negotiations.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
The paper considers the relatively low level of diversification of Belarusian exports relative to peers, and barriers to higher export potential. Belarus faces different trade regimes vis-à-vis its largest trading partner, Russia, in the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU); and its second-largest, the European Union (EU). The paper discusses tariff and nontariff barriers within the EEU; the more restrictive trade relations with the EU; and other potential barriers to trade, including logistics and limited trade facilitation. WTO accession would help improve export competitiveness. Further EEU integration could also boost trade potential, but with the attendant risk that trading links become more concentrated rather than diversified. Belarus’s largest revealed comparative advantages are in areas where it is difficult to move into new products. Belarus’s trade patterns are significantly more concentrated than those of peer countries. Belarus has lowered tariffs in recent years, including in the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).