After the implementation of a 30% tax on foreign currency purchases in late December, the Belarusian government proceeded with more changes. It instructed the central bank to devalue the Belarusian ruble by 15% in two installments, and afterwards it scrapped the foreign currency purchase tax for companies and left only the one in place for individuals at 10%.
As already reported by Forex Magnates, the tax has been enforced on all transactions, including debit and credit card purchases. The devaluation of the Belarusian ruble is a result of the country’s heavy dependence on the Russian economy, where the ruble has been steadily losing value for the past year due to falling oil prices and heightened geopolitical tensions.
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The likelihood of the tax being abolished for Belarusian residents in the future is growing, and deposits to foreign brokerages could be restored to normality, albeit the purchasing power of the local population for foreign exchange-denominated goods (a good chunk of consumer goods in the economy) has dropped by 15%.
Around the time of the tax implementation, Belarusians stormed local electronics stores and car dealerships aiming to turn their hard-earned cash into physical goods. The implications of the tax for the industry operating in Belarusia is likely to be short term as during the Christmas and New Year holidays activity is typically lower.