Belarus cbank should cut rates in step with Russia -deputy PM

MINSK, Dec 29 (Reuters) - The Belarussian central bank should cut its key lending rates in step with Russian rate cuts in order to ensure equal conditions for enterprises, Belarus' deputy prime minister said on Tuesday.

"When it comes to monetary and credit policy we should match our steps with the Russian Federation, our key trade partner," the news agency BelTA cited Andrei Kobyakov, deputy prime minister, as saying. "We're already doing it with our exchange rate policy, why shouldn't we do this with refinancing rate?"

Belarus' National Bank, which acts independently of the government, has cut its benchmark refinancing rate by 50 basis points to 13.50 percent as of Dec. 1, following directives from the International Monetary Fund, which has granted the country a $3.63 billion stabilisation loan last year.

The central bank has said that it would further cut rates in 2010 to 9-12 percent.

Russia's central bank has gradually cut its refinancing rate by 425 basis points since April. The last cut, a 25 basis points reduction, which came into effect on Monday, brought down the rate to 8.75 percent.

(Reporting in Minsk by Andrei Makhovsky; writing in Moscow by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Andy Bruce))


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