Belarus faces growing pressure to devalue currency

By Sue Chang SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- A devaluation of the Belarus currency is likely as the country's foreign exchange reserves dwindle and its current account deficit remain sizeable, according to analysts Monday. "The foreign currency reserves have been declining rapidly during the past months, but Belarus is still trying to avoid devaluation and is hoping for a bilateral loan from Russia," Sanna Kurronen, an analyst at Danske Research, said in a report. However, he noted that the loan will only help in the short term, particularly with commodity prices rising. Political unrest may also come into play as demonstrations are expected in the wake of the government's crackdown on the opposition, according to analysts at the Royal Bank of Scotland. One U.S. dollar buys about 3,020 rubles (USDBYR 3,020, 0.0000, 0.0000%) at the last check.


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