Belarus's domestic FX Trading on the Rise

Belarus has been a key player in the Eastern European FX markets, however due to government and international restrictions locals

Belarus has been a key player in the Eastern European FX markets, however due to government and international restrictions locals have found it difficult to deposit and withdraw funds with US and European brokers.

The local domestic market is thriving as the Central Bank (who controls most of the local FX trading) has issued an additional trading session to even out the massive spike in trade volumes.

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The trading volume of foreign currency at the second extra session of the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange on September 15 rose 2.8 times to Br196.13 billion or $23.1 million by the newly set fx rate of Br8.5 thousand per dollar. The volume of fx trading at the main session was Br203.86 billion ($38 million at the official rate of Br5.365).

As a result, trading volume at the additional market session has grown, having acquainted with the trading volume at the main one. The ruble-to-dollar rate, formed at the extra session, exceeds the official one by 58.4% (Br8.500 against Br5.365), while ruble-to-euro – by 64.6% (Br12.150 vs. Br7.379), Br-to-RUB – by 67.7% (Br295 vs. Br175.88), to the Polish zloty – 64.7% (Br2.770 vs. Br1.682), BelTA informs.#

The Belarusian Rouble has been under great scruting since May this year as the country was unable to keep up with its balance of payments.Belarus had to devalue its rouble by 36 percent in May in an effort to plug a hole in its budget and stem a balance of payments crisis triggered by excessive government spending.

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Analysts say companies are unwilling to sell foreign currency at the official exchange rate because it is much higher than the market rate.

The central bank dominates the official foreign exchange market where all exporters must convert 30 percent of their revenues denominated in certain foreign currencies into Belarus roubles. That requirement was introduced in 2006 to help the central bank replenish its foreign exchange reserves and ensure it had enough foreign currency to sell to key importers.

Until now, 12 foreign currencies were subject to the mandatory conversion requirement, including the U.S. dollar , the euro , the British pound , the yen , the Australian dollar , the Russian rouble and a number of Western European currencies.

The central bank said it had added 10 more currencies to the list, including the Chinese yuan , the Turkish lira , the Kazakh tenge and a number of Eastern European currencies.

Most Russian based brokers have a presence in Belarus’s margin FX market with the likes of Alpari and Instaforex.

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