The situation in the banking sector of Belarus is quite stable in the face of sanctions. This was stated by Denis Goregliad, a member of the Board of the National Bank, Head of the main department of financial market operations, during the presentation “Cooperation with Belarusian banks in the context of sectoral sanctions,” organized by BelVEB Bank jointly with the National Bank.
The online event was attended by representatives of the World Bank, China Development Bank, Harbin Bank, Development Bank, Belagroprombank, Belarusian and Chinese organizations, diplomatic missions, and banks’ clients.
Denis Goregliad shared the main trends in the development of the banking system of Belarus and opportunities for settlements in national currencies in the context of the sanctions. He noted that, taking into account the sanctions, the situation in the banking sector is quite stable. At the same time, there are no restrictions on settlements and customer service with regard to the Belarusian banks.
As for the transition of Belarusian enterprises and banks to settlements in national currencies, according to Denis Goregliad, it is relevant regardless of the sectoral sanctions, and many businesses are ready for such a step today. For example, currencies other than US dollars and euros have a significant share in the structure of the foreign trade in Belarus: exports – 36% and imports – 50%. There is also a trend towards an increase in settlements in the Chinese yuan, but their share in the total structure of settlements is quite low. This means that there is a potential for significant growth, including subject to the renewal of the swap agreement with the People’s Bank of China.
As far as interbank cooperation is concerned, Dennis Goregliad said that as of 1 July Belarusian commercial banks have opened nine correspondent accounts in Chinese yuan with Chinese banks, which allows banks to make quality and timely payments and transactions in Chinese yuan. In addition, the UnionPay system is widely enough represented in Belarus, with its cards accepted by almost 1.5 thousand ATMs and more than 75 thousand payment terminals.
“At the same time, we would like to call for increased cooperation between banks of the two countries, opening interbank credit lines, expanding trade finance instruments and providing customers with a full range of settlement services in national currencies. The main objective of the development of bilateral cooperation between Belarus and the PRC in the banking and financial sector should be to bring it closer to the level of the current political interaction,” summed up Denis Goregliad.
First Deputy Chairman of the Board of Bank BelVEB Taras Nadolny noted that they are ready to share the experience of working in the conditions of the sectoral sanctions. “The bank is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. It’s been operating in the context of sectoral sanctions for a sufficient period. We are ready to share our experience and capabilities, to look for new ways to address new challenges. In 2021, sectoral sanctions were imposed on a number of Belarusian banks. Due to the changing situation, lack of information, uncertainty, our and not only our clients and partners have a natural suspicion and sometimes a desire to reduce or even stop cooperation. In our opinion, there is no need to do this. We need to look for new opportunities to work in these conditions,” he stressed.
The head of the project of the ecosystem development department of the Bank BelVEB, former Ambassador of Belarus to China, Professor, Doctor of Economic Sciences Kirill Rudy reminded: our two countries have faced sanctions more than once. He believes that today settlements in national currencies, the resumption of the swap agreement between the central banks of Belarus and China for short-term trade financing, the use of blockchain technologies and financial crypto-platforms are becoming relevant again.
“In China, they say: in spring, flowers bloom by themselves. Now it’s autumn. On the one hand, nothing will grow by itself – we need to cooperate. On the other hand, we should not dramatize the situation, there are trends in economic growth, inflation, foreign exchange reserves, the exchange rate, the development of banks. Macroeconomic and financial stability in the country is ensured,” summed up Kirill Rudy.