Authorities introduce 30-percent tax on foreign currency purchases

The NBB press office said that the "temporary" measure was needed to prevent negative trends in the foreign currency and financial markets and make rubel deposits more attractive.

The Council of Ministers and the National Bank of Belarus (NBB), by their joint December 19 directive, introduced a 30-percent tax on purchases of foreign exchange by individuals and legal entities.

The NBB press office said that the "temporary" measure was needed to prevent negative trends in the foreign currency and financial markets and make rubel deposits more attractive.

Legal entities will pay the tax while buying foreign currency at the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange, and individuals will pay the tax while purchasing foreign cash from banks. Revenues from the tax will go to the state budget.

The press office said that legal entities would not be allowed to buy foreign currency outside the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange for the time being.

In another restrictive measure, the directive raised the share of foreign-currency proceeds that exporters are required to sell at the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange to 50 percent.

In addition, the NBB raised the annual interest rate on liquidity support loans from 24 to 50 percent.

The press office announced that all large banks were introducing fixed-term rubel savings schemes that would offset any fall in the Belarusian rubel's exchange rate to the holders.

The NBB recommended banks not to boost their rubel loan portfolios until February 1, 2015.