Belarus’ National Bank will unify the methods of calculating the gold and foreign exchange reserves, the information and public relations department of the National Bank reported.
As of July 1, the status of the gold and foreign exchange reserves will be characterized by a single indicator – the value of the International Reserve Assets (IRA) calculated in accordance with the International Monetary Fund Special Data Dissemination Standard (IMF SDDS). The Board of the National Bank took a decision to revoke Resolution of the Board of the National Bank No. 122 “On the rules of calculating international reserve assets of the Republic of Belarus in using the national method (gold and foreign exchange reserves)” as of July 29, 2004 on July 1, 2017. According to the National Bank, the decision on the use of the IRA indicator has been adopted by the National Bank as part of the comprehensive effort to improve the approaches to the management of gold and foreign exchange reserves using the experience obtained in the course of participation in the World Bank’s Reserves Advisory and Management Program (RAMP), the IMF recommendations and the practice of official reserve assets management by central banks of other states. Besides, the National Bank takes into account the experience it has gained during the interaction with international financial organizations, rating agencies and banks-counteragents that, when determining the volume of Belarus’ gold and currency reserves, use the information about the reserves calculated based on the IMF SDDS.
Belarus has been calculating the IRA value using both methodologies (IMF SDDS and the national method) since 2004. The main difference between the two methodologies is that the national method takes into account a number of assets, not stipulated by the IMF SDDS, into the IRA composition. They include the assets in the precious metals other than the monetary gold, precious stones and the assets in the currencies that are not considered by the IMF as the reserve ones. At the same time, the decision taken by the IMF Executive Committee to include, as of October 1, 2016, the Chinese Yuan into the currency basket, used in calculation of the SDRs cost, made it possible to take this currency into account while calculating the indicator of the gold and foreign exchange reserves of the Republic of Belarus using the IMF SDDS. This resulted in the quantitative convergence of the data calculated according to the national and international methodologies. Besides, another reason was the consistent decrease of the share of precious metals other than gold in the reserves when calculated using the national method. At the same time, on its balance sheet the National Bank still has the assets not taken into account when the IRA is calculated based on the IMF SDDS (funds in other currencies, including the assets denominated in the Russian rubles, precious stones and metals other than the monetary gold). These assets are still used in fulfilling relevant obligations of the National Bank and the Government of the Republic of Belarus and can be used as an additional source of replenishment of the gold and foreign exchange reserves.
As of June 1, Belarus’ gold and foreign exchange reserves using the IMF SDDS amounted to $5,238.9 million (in the equivalent), an increase of $311.7 million, or 6.3%, since the beginning of the year. In 2016, the gold and foreign exchange reserves of the Republic of Belarus based on the IMF SDDS went up by $751.4 million (by 18%), to total $4,927.2 million (in the equivalent) as of January 1, 2017. The monetary policy guidelines for 2017 stipulate the growth of the gold and foreign exchange reserves based the IMF SDDS by at least $500 million. (BelTA/Business World Magazine)