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MINSK, December 31 (Itar-Tass) — Belarus’ gold and currency reserves have reached a record high level of nearly 8 billion U.S. dollars by the end of 2011, Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich said.
“As of the end of the year the gold and currency reserves will come close to 8 billion U.S. dollars. We have never had anything like that before. It’s almost two months’ worth of import. In this respect, Belarus is close to the national security level of three months’ worth of import,” the prime minister said when visiting the Osipovichi railway carriage plant on Saturday, December 31.
Previously, the country had its biggest gold and currency reserves in early 2010. On April 1, 2010, they stood at 6,073,900,000 U.S. dollars, calculated using the IMF standards, but then decreased dramatically, especially in late 2010 when salaries were raised significantly, with the excess money supply exerting additional pressure on the foreign exchange market.
Foreign currency disappeared from exchange offices in early 2011 and importing companies tried to delay bringing foreign exchange earnings from abroad as much as possible. As a result, the gold and currency reserves of the country declined to 3,593 million U.S. dollars by June 1.
Belarus started rebuilding its gold and currency reserves in the second half of the year with the help of spending cuts and the first 800 million U.S. dollar portion of a EurAsEC Anti-Crisis Fund loan.
However the biggest earnings came at the end of the year when Belarus sold 50 percent of its Beltransgaz company to Russia’s Gazprom for 2.5 billion U.S. dollars. On December 30, the country received the second portion of the EurAsEC loan in the amount of 440 million U.S. dollars.