Russia links the allocation of its next loan to Belarus with integration processes between the two countries. However, Minsk has already secured financing from other sources in case the Russian loan doesn’t happen this year.
Chinese money and bonds vs $630 million from Russia.
Speaking with journalists, the Minister of Finance Maxim Yermolovich said Belarus had been prepared for the situation. Russia approved the $600 million loan to refinance Belarus’s current foreign debt in April.
“The Minister of Finance [of Russia] Siluanov has repeatedly stated that when we reach the general integration mechanism, we will talk the issue of crediting on a wider scale, not only within the framework of this loan [$630 million dollars], but in general the payment schedule will be set up in favor of Russia,” Yermolovich said.
The Belarusian side had been aware of the fact that the loan would be “linked to the big agenda in bilateral relations and were preparing to replace it with financing from other sources”, according to the minister.
A framework agreement was signed with the China Development Bank; Belarus had also revised plans for the government bonds policy.
By the end of 2019, the Belarusian government counts on receiving a loan of 3.5 billion yuan, or roughly $500 million, from China. As for the additional issue of the bonds in foreign currency, $500 million had been raised so far with the target being $370 million, Yermolovich said.
“We’ve secured financing for this year in full,” the minister told the press.
In case things with the Russian loan work out quicker than expected, the money will be used to repay the obligations of the next year.