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Belarusian Reserves Grew to Record $8.04 Billion Last Month

Belarus’s international reserves climbed to a record high as the former Soviet republic rebuilds a stockpile ravaged by its balance-of-payments crisis last year.

The gold and foreign-currency holdings rose by $53.9 million to $8.04 billion as of March 1, the central bank said in an e-mailed statement today, citing calculations of the holdings to International Monetary Fund standards. Higher gold prices and net purchases of foreign currency boosted the stockpile, the regulator said.

The level of the nation’s reserves is still insufficient, Chris Jarvis, head of the IMF mission in Belarus, told reporters this week in the capital, Minsk. Belarus, whose currency depreciated 64 percent against the dollar last year, wants to secure a new $3.5 billion loan from the Washington-based lender and extend payments on its debt to the fund, central bank Chairman Nadezhda Ermakova said in an interview with the Belta news service published yesterday.

The IMF may extend a new bailout facility if the country’s leadership offers a sound program of measures to stabilize the economy, Jarvis said, without specifying the possible amount of financing Belarus may need.

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