Belarus says Russian loan helps bolster forex reserves
MOSCOW Jan 4 (Reuters) - Belarus's gold and foreign exchange reserves were up nearly 3 percent to $6.651 billion as of Jan. 1 after it received a loan from Russia, the central bank said on Saturday, part of a deal to shore-up the country's stuttering growth.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said last month Moscow would provide up to $2 billion in additional loans in 2014 to Belarus, which faces peak payments on its international debt while its economic growth has slowed.
Russian news agency RIA on Saturday quoted an unnamed official at Belarus's central bank as saying the country had received the first $450 million trance of the Russian loan.
The central bank, which said it used International Monetary Fund standards to calculate its figures, said its reserves were up by $192.2 million as of Jan. 1.
Belarus, Russia's staunchest ally among the former Soviet republics, was forced to devalue its rouble by 65 percent against the dollar in 2011 to curb a current account deficit brought on by excessive government spending. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Sophie Hares)
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