Belarus

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko spooked bond markets on Thursday by speaking of a possible restructuring of $4 billion of Belarussian foreign debt falling due this year, then softened his comments to refer only to refinancing, Reuters reported. During a marathon news conference the veteran Belarussian leader made the bombshell comment that Belarus might hold talks to restructure its debts if it was struggling to repay them. That triggered a fall of 27 cents to the dollar in the value of Belarussian sovereign bonds.
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Belarus Asks for New IMF Loan

Cash-strapped Belarus has turned to the International Monetary Fund for a new loan, the Belarussian government said on its web site Wednesday, as a much-anticipated bailout from a Russian-led fund will likely be smaller than expected, The Wall Street Journal reported. Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich said Belarus was seeking a loan of between $2.5 billion and $8 billion, the country's state-run news agency reported. Belarus devalued its ruble by 36% in May, after depleting its reserves by a quarter since the beginning of the year, trying to support the currency.
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Outbursts of civil unrest have occurred in recent weeks across the periphery of Europe, where the global financial crisis has buffeted smaller countries with fewer resources to defend their economies, The Washington Post reported. Especially in Eastern Europe, the turmoil reflects surging political discontent and threatens to topple shaky governments that have been the focus of popular resentment over corruption for years.
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