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Belarus Borrowing Costs Surpass Venezuela as World’s Highest

Belarus’s borrowing costs rose to the highest in the world, surpassing Venezuela, as the former Soviet republic grapples with a balance-of-payments crisis.

The extra yield investors demand to hold Belarusian debt rather than U.S. Treasuries reached 1,396 basis points today, according to JPMorgan EMBIG indexes. That is up 29 basis points from yesterday and compares with 1,350 for Venezuela and 619 and 293 for neighbors Ukraine and Russia.

Belarus is selling state assets and has sought international bailout loans to help close a current-account deficit that reached 16 percent of gross domestic product in 2010 after the government raised public wages and pensions. It devalued its ruble 36 percent in May and let the currency float freely Sept. 14, resulting in a further 38 percent decline.

At 30 percent, Belarus’s refinancing rate is the highest among 55 countries tracked by Bloomberg.

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