The war in Ukraine is also the National Bank’s concern

The world marks the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Although Brussels is far from the front line, the war has nonetheless had an impact on the activities of the National Bank of Belgium (NBB). As a regulator and central bank, the NBB has striven, since the outbreak of the conflict, to assess the economic impact to the best of its abilities. Furthermore, as a repository of economic and financial knowledge, the NBB has been working with various governments to assist in the preparation and dissemination of accurate information.

At regular intervals, the NBB publishes a dashboard with macroeconomic and sectoral analyses and indicators. The dashboard covers, amongst other topics, the direct and indirect impact of the war in Ukraine on Belgium’s economy, balance of trade and supply of goods and is prepared in cooperation with the Federal Planning Bureau and the FPS Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy.

On its website, the NBB also provides answers to a series of frequently asked questions concerning the war in Ukraine, including the impact of the war on inflation, trade relations with Ukraine and Russia and the exposure of the Belgian financial sector to Russia.

Moreover, the war has given rise to additional responsibilities for the NBB, in its role as the national financial sector regulator. While the NBB is not responsible for monitoring compliance with sanctions in Belgium, it is entrusted with assessing risks to financial stability, including those caused by the conflict such as cybersecurity risks.

Due to the close ties between the NBB and the National Bank of Ukraine, the war seems closer to home for many of us than the 2,000 kilometres between Brussels and Kiev would indicate.
Pierre Wunsch —
Governor —

Belgium was in fact one of the first countries to allow Ukrainian refugees to exchange hryvnias (UAH) for euros. Through an agreement with the National Bank of Ukraine, it was possible to exchange up to ₴10,000, the equivalent of about €310, per adult between 1 June and 9 December. This service, co-sponsored by the federal government, was offered by the NBB and branches of participating commercial banks. In total, no less than ₴303,575.12 was exchanged.

Support for the National Bank of Ukraine and refugees

The NBB and the National Bank of Ukraine have a special relationship as they are both members of the same working group within the International Monetary Fund. As a result, they have a history of technical cooperation. The NBB’s experts have stepped up exchanges with their Ukrainian counterparts on institutional issues, the Single European Payments Area and resilience to cyberattacks, amongst other matters.

On a more personal level, the NBB and its staff have demonstrated their solidarity with both the Ukrainian people and their colleagues at the National Bank of Ukraine. For example, in cooperation with the PCSW, the NBB made its Guest House available to Ukrainian refugees. Last year, this facility temporarily housed a total of 51 people, who found a more permanent place to stay after 14 weeks on average. In addition, NBB staff have donated equipment, clothing and toys for Ukrainian refugees and some have welcomed refugees into their homes.

On the eve of the first anniversary of the conflict, the National Bank is committed to continuing to provide accurate economic information and socially relevant research. Finally, the NBB places great value in corporate social responsibility and wishes to contribute to the re-establishment of a climate of peace.