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Thread: Exchange Rate of Belarussian Roubles to USD/Euro

  1. #1
    Завсегдатай Hanna's Avatar
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    Exchange Rate of Belarussian Roubles to USD/Euro

    Could someone do me a favour and explain what's going on with the Belarussian rouble?

    The graph below shows historical exchange rates between the Belarusian Ruble (BYR) and the Euro (EUR) between 11/13/2010 and 5/11/2011


    This is discussed in this article MINSK, Belarus | Belarus completes its currency devalution | The Herald - Rock Hill, SC

    Nina Zelenkovskaya, a 36-year-old accountant who has been queuing to buy foreign currency for three weeks now, said Wednesday her salary of 1.2 million Belarusian rubles ($400 before the devaluation) is now worth $300, which is about the average in the capital of Minsk.
    That is VERY tough! I wonder what an average rent is? Why does she need the USD unless she's going abroad? So far as I can see, all prices in Belarus are in roubles, apart from services explicitly aimed at tourists.

    I realise these may be stupid questions but I am not familiar with the system, so sorry!

    So who is shopping in the very chic boutiques and stylish shopping centres in central Minsk? What about affording to eat in restaurants and cafes? (Minsk is packed with nice cafes) - If not middle class people like this accountant, and since there are no real oligarchs....

    When I was withdrawing money from a cashpoint, I noticed that I got the option of withdrawing USD.
    If it's available to me, then why not to this woman? That sounds a bit "Soviet" and bad.
    Is the exchange rate used by the bank very bad?

    I like Belarus a lot, and I respect what's been done here politically. The country has not lost its dignity since the USSR days and has not allowed itself to be seriously ripped off by local oligarchs or foreign multinational corporations. It's very obvious that people are pleased and proud about that. It has kept some of the Soviet institutions that were really useful and helpful for people and it is now moving towards more market economy at a sensible speed.
    Obviously I do not respect mistreatment of people on political grounds but I think the rumours about that are hugely exaggerated in most Western media, for political reasons. Maybe I am misunderstanding something, not sure. When I was on the train I listened to a political discussion. One person was seriously dissing Lukashenko in a loud voice on the train. Everybody else got genuinely pissed off at his views and defended Lukashenko and Belarus politics. Lukashenko goes under the nickname "Batye" or something like that. I get the feeling that the people view him as a fundamentally good but sometimes irritating figure who is the best that is on offer politically. Better-the-devil-you-know....

    Belarus uses different exchange rates, depending on whether it is banks, private individuals or state companies that are buying the foreign currency. At times the difference between those rates can be up to 30 percent.
    The woman from the flat letting company asked me if I was aware of this. I said no, but we moved on to talking about other things. I had some Euros on me (emergency cash...) I paid her the agreed price in Euros, all fine.

    Can anyone explain all this a bit more in depth to me, with some examples? If I withdraw USD from a cashpoint, do I get the bad or the good exchange rate?

    Again sorry for maybe a stupid question and grateful for any help!
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    Yeah, until yesterday official rate was about 3100 BYR for 1 USD and today it's 4000, in Belarus exchange rate is set by government, and banks (even private) can not exceed it. Before the elections government loudly declared that there will not be any devaluation next year, and raised salaries for 30% without any economical reason, The most people didn't trust their declarations, (it wasn't the first time they cheated people) and many of them rushed to exchange offices and started to convert unstable and empty belarussian money to much more solid dollars. Now Belarus is experiencing a huge monetary deficiency. Because monetary reserves are on the critical level, and we are close to default, government denied sell currency to people from monetary reserve. So nobody can buy dollars the real course is about 4500-5000. Yesterday national bank raised limit of dollar cost to 4000, and so they at last formally passed the devaluation de jure. And again cheated their own people (. As I know today still nobody can buy currencies even on such high price... Why people measure their salaries in dollars... Our economics is very dependent from import, now many enterprises don't work because they can't buy currency to pay for imported parts and materials so many prices are invisibly tied to currencies. And when dollar is raising - all the prices immediately follow it.
    You can withdrawing USD from cash point because you have an account nominated in solid currency, most people have rubles on their accounts and it's the same situation as in exchange offices.

  3. #3
    Завсегдатай Hanna's Avatar
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    Thank you for explaining. How frustrating for people, and how awkward that the government isn't up front about their plans (but then, governments often are not... Like for example in Ireland recently!)

    What are the main reasons for the economic problems that brought this devaluation about?
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    Deficiency of the trade balance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    Thank you for explaining. How frustrating for people, and how awkward that the government isn't up front about their plans (but then, governments often are not... Like for example in Ireland recently!)

    What are the main reasons for the economic problems that brought this devaluation about?
    The main thing that there were not any plans. There were fantastic dreams and no one program to realise them.
    The main reason as I can see it: the government always assure people that our economics work effectively and very well, agriculture is on the peak and gives huge benefits, that everything is cool and all people deserve better life, just for stay at rule. This lullaby is continuing to spread out thru all the mass media, 'cause most of them are governmental. Then people were given some extra money they didn't earn and this mass started to buy and spend out monetary reserves on imported products. In fact belarusians buy imported products on the sum 9 billions more than sell abroad, in a year. Before that gap was fullfilled by credits from IMF and Russia. Now they set very rough terms. And the government got paralized. They simply don't know what to do...

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    Завсегдатай Hanna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteKnight View Post
    that gap was fullfilled by credits from IMF and Russia. Now they set very rough terms. And the government got paralized. They simply don't know what to do...
    The IMF is poison for any country, because loans from them, come with conditions.
    Recently Ireland was almost forced to borrow from IMF and people were furious - they did NOT want it and I can't understand why it happened despite, almost everyone in Ireland being against it. This was covered quite extensively in British media.

    Yes, I see an "unholy" mix of socialist economical policies here, and people who exist on very low incomes.... while at the same time there are some people who are shopping in designer shops and driving four wheel luxury cars - at least in Minsk.
    Don't know what to make of it!

    Some technical products are more expensive here than in the EU.
    Some things are very, very cheap, almost free.

    Most public buildings, apartment buildings, parks, pavements, roads and infrastructure seem to have been renovated and are clean and in a good state - much better than what I saw in Romania, Moldova and Ukraine. That is surely a good thing,

    I respect the fact that they are trying, because I think it's a lot more fair and sensib than what has happened in Russia for example. I just hope (for the sake of people in Belarus) that they are not attempting to do something that is impossible.

    Actually, we had quite a "strange" mix of capitalism and socialism in Sweden too, for all my life. Government plans and sponsored goods and housing alongside private industry etc. But our "experiment" started almost 100 years ago and we were lucky not to have anything destroyed by war or the chaos that took over in Eastern Europe in the 90s. And a lot of the socialist practices that S wedishpeople were used to, got scrapped in the 90s.
    Is it possible to mix the two like Belarus is doing, in the 21st century?
    I don't know...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    The IMF is poison for any country, because loans from them, come with conditions.
    Recently Ireland was almost forced to borrow from IMF and people were furious - they did NOT want it and I can't understand why it happened despite, almost everyone in Ireland being against it. This was covered quite extensively in British media.
    I don't think that a default in a whole financial sector of a country is better than borowing from IMF. If they started to play the game they should follow the rules. I don't know countries that isn't involved into globalisation... Maybe Northern Korea. Or anarchic african countries, It's hard to believe that people there live happy life. To my mind everything has advantages and disadvantages so to live in modern world and stay relatively independent you should play very well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    Most public buildings, apartment buildings, parks, pavements, roads and infrastructure seem to have been renovated and are clean and in a good state - much better than what I saw in Romania, Moldova and Ukraine. That is surely a good thing,
    I absolutly agree with you, it's a very good thing, and it should be so, but everything you can see - roads, buildings, tiny vilages and agrotowns are built on the money from resale cheap russian petrol to EU, until the last time our economics were based on it, and on extremely cheap gas from kind Russia. They sponsored us for about 20 years. Having so available resources, our products were very cheap and by the price they could be very competitive versus other CIS members. And we didn't need to provide modernisation of our enterprises, until Russia said, enough, it's time to pay. You know, our opposion always loudly yell that, we can loose our independence and became Russian "gubernia" with russian order and rules of buisness if we would have very close friendship with them. If in power would be more soft person instead of Lukashenko we would loang time ago were in Russia. Only Luka could manage to suck Russian resources for 20 years and gave nothing in return. But it seems that now Lukashenko drove russian government mad. They raised the price of resources and they don't want to lend some billions bucks. . And we have no way but sell governmental estate to russian corporations (read "oligarchs") may be then they give us credit or reduce the price on gas to live some more in utopia... Everything is obvious and always was so. In the times of wellness, our government should spend money on modernisation, alternative energetics and resorces economy not only on beautiful buildings and four wheel luxury cars for officials, it remains USSR and it can be seen everywere.
    We should invested in our independence and future wellness. You may have not seen but almost nobody in Belarus lives green economy life like they do in Europe. We don't collect recyclable packs, we never mind about water and electricity economy. Everything was given to us for almost free prices. And we don't know the real, independent value of it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    I respect the fact that they are trying, because I think it's a lot more fair and sensib than what has happened in Russia for example. I just hope (for the sake of people in Belarus) that they are not attempting to do something that is impossible.
    Nothing is impossible, all we should done - change old, low educated people in the power and everything will be ok! I think it will be so anyway, but with smart power it would be faster and better ).

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    Actually, we had quite a "strange" mix of capitalism and socialism in Sweden too, for all my life. Government plans and sponsored goods and housing alongside private industry etc. But our "experiment" started almost 100 years ago and we were lucky not to have anything destroyed by war or the chaos that took over in Eastern Europe in the 90s. And a lot of the socialist practices that S wedishpeople were used to, got scrapped in the 90s.
    Is it possible to mix the two like Belarus is doing, in the 21st century?
    I don't know...
    Neither do I... But I hope that we'll find the right way)

  8. #8
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    Nothing will be better under any government, only worse. Lukashenko did the best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    Nothing will be better under any government, only worse. Lukashenko did the best.
    ) Yeah, nowadays is the best confirmation of it!

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    Завсегдатай Basil77's Avatar
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    There are some talks in Russia that Lukashenko has the only way to solve the current crisis: six Belarussian regions join Russian Federation as Belarus Federal District (keeping a vast autonomy) and Bat'ka becomes somewhat lifelong honorary head of it (as a decorative figure of course). In that case Russia would pay all Belarus debts and such stuff, blah, blah. The only other way is some kind of pro-western orange revolution with Lukashenko facing a court as a criminal.
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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    Завсегдатай Hanna's Avatar
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    Apparently Belarus has never before been a separate country, not before 1992 I mean.

    There are lots of nationalistic slogans around here in Belarus, there is clearly an effort to create a national identity. I don't get the feeling that there is any serious commitment to speaking Belarussian though. It's extremely confusing that Belarussian names are used on street signs and metro but no actual person uses them, and not maps either. One woman I spoke with told me that she couldn't speak Belarussian at all but she just thought it sounded nice and support it for that reason.

    There are a lot of benefits to being in the same country if you speak the same language anyway. Personally I think Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland should make one big country together - we'd be much more influential. The culture is the same and the langauges (apart from Finnish) are mutually intelligible, could be just slightly modified to a common language very easily.

    Are there any export sanctions between the EU and Belarus? I mean there must be a lot of products that Belarus makes that would be of interest to the EU to purchase? Tractors for goodness sake, clothing (there is definitely a clothing industry in Belarus)....
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    Почтенный гражданин Dmitry Khomitchuk's Avatar
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    There are export sanctions between the EU and Belarus. I don't know exactly about other goods, but I know situation about food. One manufacturer was trying to get permission to sell products in EU. After production checking it was unofficially said not try more, because all is good but they will never give permission because they don't need new player at the market.

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    Спокойно, сегодня Путин приехал в Беларусь, всё разрулит. =)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Basil77 View Post
    There are some talks in Russia that Lukashenko has the only way to solve the current crisis: six Belarussian regions join Russian Federation as Belarus Federal District (keeping a vast autonomy) and Bat'ka becomes somewhat lifelong honorary head of it (as a decorative figure of course).
    There are only 7 regions in Belarus (Minsk itself + 6 regions) - I don't think this is true, but having imagined what it would be like - I laughed a lot. Russia issued 6 billion USD for Minsk to cover its current difficulties. По ярду за область - Надо брать!

    Quote Originally Posted by BappaBa View Post
    Спокойно, сегодня Путин приехал в Беларусь, всё разрулит. =)
    Лично порвёт пасть инфляции, не иначе.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil View Post
    Лично порвёт пасть инфляции, не иначе.
    Like his predecessors did in 1998.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramil View Post
    There are only 7 regions in Belarus (Minsk itself + 6 regions) - I don't think this is true, but having imagined what it would be like - I laughed a lot. Russia issued 6 billion USD for Minsk to cover its current difficulties. По ярду за область - Надо брать!

    Лично порвёт пасть инфляции, не иначе.
    I think Belarus is beginning to enjoy being an independent nation now... (apart from the currency problem). They have their own style... I think they like law, order and organisation a lot more than Russians do - more like Germans and Scandinavians in that respect. You'll probably never get Belarus back ! Unless there is some kind of "USSR v2.0" and Belarus agrees to join.
    Although I get the feeling that the early days of Belarussian independence were a bit like "Oops, what do we do now??!!"
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    Почтенный гражданин Dmitry Khomitchuk's Avatar
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    No, I don't think so, The Chairman of Supreme Soviet BSSR was one of three person who signed document about liquidation of USSR.

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    The Chairman, but not usual people.

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    Завсегдатай Basil77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hanna View Post
    I think they like law, order and organisation a lot more than Russians do - more like Germans and Scandinavians in that respect.
    That's exactly my impression. As Lukashenko says: "What's a Belarussian? It's a Russian with a quality sign". But I think if you would separate a 10 million enclave somewhere in central Russia they would be exactly as current Belarus. Russia is too big and diversed, having Caucasus shithole leechers, maintaining the hugest nuclear arsenal in the world and a million-sized military, having the longest borderlines in the world to secure, spending much efforts on international policy, etc.

    You'll probably never get Belarus back ! Unless there is some kind of "USSR v2.0" and Belarus agrees to join.
    Officialy we've already got a "union state" with Belarus, at least on paper. The only reason many Belarussians don't want to unite with current Russia is that they don't want to have Russian oligarchs "sitting on their neck" and I can perfectly understand them, I don't want to have oligarchs exploiting me and my country resourses either.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dmitry Khomitchuk View Post
    No, I don't think so, The Chairman of Supreme Soviet BSSR was one of three person who signed document about liquidation of USSR.
    These three villians (I mean Yeltsin, Kravchuk and Shushkevich) must be lined up and shot for what they have deed in Bialowezhian Forest. Unfortunately that scum Yeltsin have died already, but I would dig out his corpse from his fukkin grave and shoot it anyway.
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

  20. #20
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    The higher the exchange rate the more purchasing power for food because food is not imported assuming it is not. But in capitalist countries like Philippines where compost is available, where we have indiginous materials to use for animal feeds and we do not need to import fertilizers, food is cheaper. I just don't know about socialist Belorussia. Everywhere you go you see either market or food vendors. Even in sidewalks and busy streets. The more competition the more stable the prices are because nobody can dictate the prices. Again, I do not know how Belorussian law works on street and market vendors. Do they allow market vendors on the streets and provincial market?

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