Russia lends Belarus $760m as economy shrinks by 2%

Minsk Government buildingRussia lends Belarus: Moscow this week extended a 10-year $760m loan to Minsk as Belarus tries to meet $4bn in debt repayments in the middle of an economic slump. While Russia has been a traditional source of financial aid for Belarus, its giant neighbour’s recession and the devaluation of the rouble has dragged it down with it, precipitating a 2% economic slump in the first quarter of this year. The weakness of the rouble has also had a significant impact on the dollar value of its exports. Belarus’ external debt stood $12.4bn as of April 1 — around 17 %of gross domestic product – according to the country’s Finance Ministry, with $4bn due in repayments by the end of the year.