The ruble (Belarusian: рубель, Gen. plural: рублёў) is the currency of Belarus. The symbol for the ruble is Br and the ISO 4217 code is BYR. It is divided into 100 kapeykas (капейка, Gen. plural: kapeyek).
First ruble, 1992–2000
The initial necessity for Belarusian currency was purely technical. The fast pace of inflation in the late Eighties and early Nineties required Belarusian banks to have ever increasing cash for daily operations. The breakup of supply chain in the former Soviet enterprises demanded that goods be bought and sold on the market, often requiring cash settlement. The Belarusian unit of the USSR State Bank did not have capacity nor the license to print Soviet banknotes, hence the government decided to introduce their own national currency to ease up the situation with cash. From the collapse of the Soviet Union until May 1992, the Soviet ruble circulated in Belarus alongside with the Belarusian ruble. New Russian banknotes also circulated in Belarus but they were replaced by notes issued by the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus in May 1992. The first post-Soviet Belarusian ruble was assigned the ISO code BYB and replaced the Soviet currency at the rate of 1 Belarusian ruble = 10 Soviet rubles. It took about two years before the ruble became the official currency of the country.
Second ruble, 2000-
In 2000, a second ruble was introduced (ISO code BYR), replacing the first at a rate of 1 new ruble = 1000 old rublei. This was redenomination with 3 zeros chopped off. Only banknotes have been issued, with the only coins issued being commemoratives for collectors.
Monetary integration with Russia
From the beginning of his presidency, Alexander Lukashenko began to suggest the idea of integration with Russian Federation and to undertake steps in this direction. From the beginning, there was also an idea of introducing a united currency for the Union of Russia and Belarus. Art. 13 of the 1999 "Treaty of Creation of the Union State of Russia and Belarus" foresaw a unified currency. Discussions about the Union currency has continued past the 2005 implementation goal set by both nations.Starting in 2008, the Central Bank of the Republic of Belarus announced that the ruble will be tied to the United States dollar instead of the Russian ruble."Stanislav Bogdankevich, a former bank chairman, called the decision political, saying it was tied to Belarus' open displeasure at Russia's decision to hike oil and gas export prices to Belarus earlier this year. Belarus' economy is largely Soviet-style, centrally controlled and has been heavily reliant on cheap energy supplies from Russia".
Rumours about the third ruble
It seemed that by the end of 2009 there would be a monetary reform (a 1:1000 revaluation) in Belarus.However, this has been officially denied by a representative of the NBRB.
In 1992, banknotes were introduced in denominations of 50 kapeykas, 1, 3, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 5000 rublei. These were followed by 20,000 rublei in 1994, 50,000 rublei in 1995, 100,000 rublei in 1996, 500,000 rublei in 1998 and 1 and 5 million rublei in 1999.
In 2000, notes were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 5000 rublei. In 2001, higher denominations of 10,000, 20,000 and 50,000 rublei were introduced, followed by 100,000 rublei in 2005. There are no coins or banknotes issued in kapeykas.
Historical exchange rates
|Belarusian rublei per currency unit
|United States dollar
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