Belearus’ government debt rises by BYN223m in May

Government debt of Belarus increased by BYN223m in May to BYN43.9bn at the end of the month, according to figures published by the FinMin on Friday. The increase is entirely due to domestic debt, which rose by BYN576m on the back of USD300m domestic forex-denominated debt issue during the month. Meanwhile, external debt fell by USD0mn in May to USD16.6bn due to repayments on debt to Russia and China’s Eximbank and in the absence of significant new borrowing.

In the five months of the year government debt has declined by BYN1.5bn mainly thanks to net external debt repayment. Total new borrowing during the period reached USD327m, mainly the USD270m received by Russia, while debt repayments were for USD661m. Of this amount the largest repayments went again to Russia (USD287m), followed by China (USD247m).

Looking forward, Belarus expects to receive USD630m loan promised by Russia, but the timing remains unclear. Last week FinMin Yermolovich said that there is no urgent need for this money and if received, the loan will be used for debt repayment in 2020-2021. If not, Belarus can tap the Eurobond market next year. The Russian loan is apparently contingent on the consent of Belarus to closer economic and political integration, which President Lukashenko is not happy about.

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