Belarusian ruble lost 30% of its value in one day on Dec. 19, according to Censor.NET citing Delfi.
Many exchange offices now have signs that they are currently not working - usually due to unexplained technical reasons. The National Bank promises to cover the currency deficit in the near future, and says that planes full of currency are flying into the country. "Many complain that the exchange points are lacking currency. We are currently resolving these issues, it (the currency - ed.) was ordered in foreign banks, there will be more of it... Aircraft with currency are already on approach," Deputy Chairman of the National Bank of Belarus Taras Nadolny said, Interfax reports.
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said that the panic was mostly provoked by the collapse of the Russian ruble. "For us the main thing now is to prevent the drop, not to rush into the maelstrom after Russia, because we do not know how much the ruble will be, etc. We know one thing - that we are having big losses in connection with the collapse of the Russian ruble, because this is our main market," he said. Belarusian President also expressed confidence in prompt stabilization of the national currency. "Don't you worry: no matter what happens in our country, even in the worst-case scenario, we will stabilize in six months anyway, thanks to the system which created in Belarus - rigid system of vertical power, strict requirements," Lukashenko said according to BELTA .
The lines to exchange offices began in Belarus in the beginning of the week. On Wednesday and Thursday a series of exchange points in Minsk could not meet the customers' demand for currency. Banks and exchange offices on Thursday announced a rate 10% higher than the one officially established by the National Bank. At that, the sale price remains at the official level. All major Belarusian banks were instructed to introduce a guaranteed term savings deposit with the indexing mechanism for ruble savings in the event of changes of the exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble.
The Belarus government also made a decision today on the temporary introduction of a 30 per cent duty on purchase of foreign currency by legal entities and individuals. Companies and banks will pay this fee when buying foreign currency at the exchange and the citizens - in the form of commission when buying in banks; the funds will be allocated to the budget, the Belarusian National Bank explains. Currency trading on the OTC market is suspended.