Rumas: Belarus will honor its financial commitments fully in 2020
Belarus will honor all its commitments due in 2020 fully and on time, Belarus Prime Minister Sergei Rumas told journalists after he presented his report to the president on 14 May, BelTA has learned.
According to the prime minister, in January-April 2020, both the state budget and local budgets reported a surplus. “The surplus totaled Br600 million in each case. This proves that the budget expenses and revenues are balanced,” he said.
Sergei Rumas pointed out that Belarus is honoring its obligations on foreign loans fully and on time. At the same time, these loans will be restructured in view of the current situation in the world. “We expected to raise more funds by floating eurobonds. However, the situation on capital markets is not particularly favorable at the moment: borrowing has become more expensive and the markets are not operating the way we hoped for. We have other sources and all Belarus' obligations due in 2020 will be honored fully and on time,” the prime minister said.
The journalists also asked about the ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). BelTA reported earlier that the Belarusian government and the country's National Bank addressed the IMF with an application for rapid financing due to the deterioration of the global economic situation. Depending on the terms of access to the IMF's Rapid Financing Instrument, Belarus may claim the equivalent of roughly $900 million.
“We are keeping in touch with the International Monetary Fund. We are dealing with common paperwork, submitting the necessary documents. Unfortunately, I cannot say anything about the terms now. I can confirm that the negotiating parties are working closely in the remote mode (which is understandable amid the pandemic). Things are moving forward,” Sergei Rumas responded.
As of 1 April 2020, Belarus' external state debt totaled $16.6 billion, down by $0.5 billion or 2.9% from the beginning of 2020 (taking into account differences in currency exchange rates).
In January-March 2020, the Belarusian government borrowed $247.7 million abroad, including $222.7 million from the Russian government and banks, $12.8 million from the Export–Import Bank of China, $8 million from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and $4.2 million from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB).
In Q1 2020, Belarus spent $504.9 million to repay the external state debt, including $221.6 million to the Russian government, $171.2 million to Chinese banks, $88.3 million to the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development (EFSD), $22 million to the IBRD, $1.3 million to the EBRD and NIB, and $0.5 million to the U.S. Commodity Credit Corporation.
As of 1 April 2020, Belarus' state debt totaled Br53.7 billion, up by Br8.9 billion, or 19.9%, from the beginning of the year.
The internal state debt amounted to Br10.4 billion as of 1 April. Taking into account differences in currency exchange rates, the internal state debt went up by Br1.7 billion or 19.1% from the beginning of the year.