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Free Floating Ruble In Belarus By May

Fearing a currency crisis, many Belarusians have been buying hard currency
A top Belarusian official has said that Minsk hopes to introduce a single floating exchange rate next month after it receives an emergency bailout loan from Russia.

The remarks by National Bank of Belarus currency controls chief Anatoly Moroz come as Belarus pursues negotiations with Russia over a multi-billion dollar loan.

Belarus has been struggling through an economic crisis which began last year when Russia raised the price it charges for energy.

Russian Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin said this week that the loan negotiations could be completed by May.

Belarusian banks were allowed this week to set their own exchange rate in lending operations they conduct between themselves.

compiled from agency reports