Belarus exchange offices run out of foreign currency

Belarusian cash exchange bureaus ran out of foreign currency on Tuesday after the sudden devaluation of the national currency and a surge in exchange rates.

The National Bank of Belarus devalued the national currency on Monday by 56 per cent against the US dollar. The official Belarusian ruble rate for May 24 has been set at 4,930 to the dollar. Almost all exchange offices in the country have set the same rates of 5,000 Belarusian rubles to the dollar, 7,000 to the euro and 175 to the Russian ruble.

The Belarusian National Bank said on Monday it would regulate the exchange rate, banning other banks' currency exchange offices from selling or buying the Belarusian ruble at rates more than two per cent above the rate established by the National Bank. In the first quarter of this year, Belarus's gold and currency reserves shrank on rumours of the possible devaluation of the Belarusian ruble, which triggered an acute demand for foreign currency.

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