Belarus is seeking up to $8 billion in loans from the International Monetary Fund to stabilize its finances," Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich said on Wednesday.
"We estimate the size of the financial aid at $3.5 billion to $8 billion. The loan program is expected to last from three to five years," he said.
The IMF loan is expected to be half the cost of a loan Belarus expects to obtain in the near future from the anti-crisis fund of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC), a post-Soviet economic bloc led by Russia, the premier said.
"The price of borrowing is half the cost of the EurAsEC anti-crisis fund's bailout loan," he said.
In the first quarter of this year, the Belarusian ruble experienced pressure from a large trade deficit, generous wage increases and loans granted by the government ahead of the December 2010 presidential elections, which spurred strong demand for foreign currency.
As a result, Belarus' central bank has devalued the ruble to 4,930 per dollar from 3,155, while the government has applied for a $1 billion loan from Russia and a $2 billion loan from EurAsEC to stabilize the currency market.
EurAsEC will decide on the disbursement of the first, $800 million bailout tranche to Belarus on June 4.
MINSK, June 1 (RIA Novosti)