Belarus National Bank includes rubles in forex reserves

MINSK. Sept 4 (Interfax) - Assets in Russian rubles will be included in Belarussian forex reserves, according to the national definition, from September 1, 2006, the Belarussian National Bank's information department said, quoting a resolution from the National Bank board of directors.

The press release notes that according to international standards, reserve currency may be foreign currency from a leading states, used by other states to accumulate liquid international reserve assets, make international settlements and cover foreign obligations and to carry out currency intervention, accepted as payment throughout the world.

The National Bank said that from July 1, 2006 Russia removed all currency restrictions, which moved the Russian ruble significantly closer being a freely convertible currency. In addition, in recent years the sovereign rating of the Russian Federation has increased significantly," the National Bank said.

The Russian ruble accounts for about 20%-30% of total volume on the Belarussian domestic currency market and in foreign trade settlements, second only to the dollar, the press release said.

Also, as world confidence in the Russian ruble grows and its use in international settlements increases, the National Bank plans to increase the weight of the Russian ruble in the structure of reserve currencies.