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VTB Says Belarus Bound for Meltdown as Locals Hoard Fridges

Belarus is headed for an economic “meltdown” and the ruble will need to depreciate another 51 percent, VTB Capital said, as locals lay siege to shops and protest price increases after the central bank devalued the currency.

The Belarusian central bank let the managed ruble weaken by 36 percent versus the dollar on May 24 as demand for dollars and euros from importers and households threatened to derail an economy already laboring under a current-account deficit equal to 16 percent of gross domestic product. Russia and other former Soviet partners last week agreed to give Belarus a $3 billion loan and urged President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s government to sell $7.5 billion of assets to replenish the state’s coffers.