Belarus imposes 30 per cent fee at currency exchanges to stem spillover panic from Russia

MINSK, Belarus – Belarus has imposed a 30 per cent fee on any currency exchange transactions in an effort to contain any panic that has spilled over from neighbouring Russia.

The Belarusian National Bank announced Friday that it was mandating the fee for both businesses and individuals using Belarusian rubles to buy foreign currency.

While Belarus’s currency has remained relatively stable in recent months, people in the capital of Minsk have flooded currency exchanges amid worries that the economic crisis in Russia could spill over. The Russian ruble has lost almost half its value this year.

Belarus’s leader has said he will not devalue the Belarusian ruble. That announcement may help calm nerves over a possible currency collapse but will make selling exports, over half of which go to Russia, increasingly difficult.