Belarus's central bank said on Monday it was lowering its official rate for the rouble versus the dollar by around 7 percent, the latest fallout from market turmoil in neighbouring Russia.
Countries around the former Soviet Union are feeling the pain from a steep decline in the Russian rouble, which dropped by about 40 percent last year against the dollar because of Western sanctions over Ukraine and a sliding oil price.
Russia is Belarus's largest trading partner and late last year President Alexander Lukashenko, who runs his command-style economy with a firm grip, said he had demanded all transactions with the country's neighbour be carried out in dollars or euros.
The Belarussian central bank said it was reducing the currency's official rate to 12,740 roubles per dollar on Jan. 6 from 11,900 roubles on Monday, a further weakening of a currency which fell around 20 percent against the dollar in 2014.
It also said it had reduced to 10 percent the tax on buying foreign currency that it had put in place because of increased demand.
"These steps...are to normalise the situation in the financial sector of the Republic of Belarus," the bank said in a statement.
In December the bank imposed a 30 percent duty on all purchases of foreign currency by companies and citizens due to the currency crisis in Russia. The bank had earlier cut the duty to 20 percent.
The bank said that the situation on the currency market remains stable but Reuters data quoted the rouble at between 14,200 and 15,200 to dollar.
Lukashenko has promised to protect Belarus from Russia's economic woes and sacked his prime minister, central bank head and top ministers in late December after warning them there would be dismissals if they missed his economic objectives.
In December, the central bank increased its overnight refinancing rate to 50 percent from 24 percent, but kept the key refinancing rate unchanged at 20 percent, to try to support the Belarussian rouble.