The direct public debt grew by BYN4.1bn (USD2.1bn) to BYN37.0bn or by 15% last year, the FinMin reported today. In December alone, the debt grew by BYN0.2bn. External government debt in particular edged up to USD13.6bn from USD13.5bn over December. Over last year, it grew by USD1.2bn.
The FinMin’s figures show that Belarus borrowed USD101mn from China and USD58mn from Russia, while repaying USD88mn to the Russia-dominated Eurasian Stabilisation and Development Fund in December. At the same time, the fund did not issue the third tranche of its USD2bn loan to Belarus last year. The tranche is unlikely to arrive any time soon, as relations with Russia have been strained of late. At the same time, Belarus is likely to borrow more from IFIs this year. The EBRD, for one, last year approved a new four-year strategy for Belarus, which provides for lending to the public sector, whereas the previous strategy ruled that out.
Domestic debt edged up to BYN10.2bn at end-December from BYN10.1bn at end-November and from BYN9.7bn at end-2015. The government placed more domestic bonds in December, bringing total issuance to USD1.62bn and BYN544mn last year. At the same time, the government repaid virtually nothing in either November or December, and the total of repayments for last year equaled USD1.51bn and BYN600mn.