It Is Not True That Citizens Are Withdrawing Deposits from Macedonian Banks in Panic
The National Bank told “Truthmeter” that “the information that there are withdrawals of deposits from banks these days is incorrect” and stressed that “the solvency of Macedonian banks is in no way in question.” Regarding inflation, the National Bank says that it is above the initial projections and is 6.7 percent in January. However, they point out that this is moderate inflation, not galloping. What is important to emphasize and distinguish in public is that inflation is not a devaluation. We responsibly claim that the Denar is and will remain stable, say the NBRNM
The text makes several claims. First:
According to information received by Infomax, in the past few days, Macedonian citizens have been withdrawing money en masse from banks, primarily due to the uncertain situation in which the world and the country are.
The article also says:
This data should worry us all because if it continues to increase in volume, the solvency of Macedonian banks will be questioned.
The fall in the interest rate on time deposits in the past year and month also contributed to this worrying trend.
The text then concludes:
The answer to the question where do the citizens spend the money from these deposits is shown by the empty shelves in the big markets and the panicked purchase by the citizens of basic food products.
It is also stated that “last year the Macedonian economy registered inflation of 7.6 percent, which lowered the standard of living of the citizens”, and according to the allegations in the article, “inflation is expected to continue to gallop in conditions when the prices of basic goods are thawing because were frozen by the government due to the enormous increase in prices.”
“Truthmeter” addressed the National Bank of the Republic of North Macedonia with several questions regarding the veracity of the allegations made in the text shared in this Facebook post. In the NBRNM we asked:
- Is it true that in recent days, citizens have been withdrawing deposits from Macedonian banks en masse?
- Is there a change in the solvency of Macedonian banks, of which the NBRNM is aware?
- Can you give us a concrete figure of what the interest rate is for time deposits and whether it has decreased in the past year and month (as stated in the text above)?
- Is inflation expected to gallop?
We also requested aggregate data from the National Bank of the level of deposits and withdrawals of Denars and foreign currencies of the citizens and the companies in the banks in the past 15 days. Or data in a format in which they systematize, which would show the level of deposits and withdrawals before and after the invasion of Russia in Ukraine, from which a comparison can be made.
The NBRNM told “Truthmeter” that “the information that there are panic withdrawals of deposits from banks these days is incorrect.”
According to the NB data, and we monitor the movement of total deposits on a daily basis, the movements of deposits do not deviate from the usual changes during the month. In fact, the data show that the trend of cumulative increase in deposits in domestic banks continues in February, they say.
The institution adds that on a daily basis the movements of total deposits are conditioned by several factors, and, above all, by the larger inflows on the accounts in the days of payment of salaries, pensions and other incomes and subsequent settlement of liabilities and spending of citizens in the coming days.
The analysis of the weekly changes in household deposits on average indicates more favorable movements of these deposits in the last week of February (including February 27) compared to the previous week of the month. Thus, on average in the last week, household deposits increased by about 230 million denars per day or about 1.6 billion for the whole week, while the previous week on average on a daily basis they decreased by about 114 million denars or about 800 million for all week. At the same time, as of February 27, on a monthly basis, household deposits increased by about 2 billion denars, according to the NB.
They add that “the solvency of Macedonian banks is by no means in question.”
On the contrary, over the years, sufficient safeguards have been established and the stability of the banking system is at the highest level, which is noted in the reports of international financial institutions. Also, in the domestic banking system there is no bank dominated by shareholders from Russia and Ukraine, which, from this aspect, there is no exposure to impact on the stability of the banking system, explained from the NB.
Regarding the interest rate on deposits, in January 2022 it decreased by 0.03 percent on monthly and annual basis, i.e. 0.22 percent.
However, there is a decrease in the interest rate on loans on a monthly and annual basis by 0.02 percent and 0.27 percent, respectively. The reduction of interest rates on both loans and deposits is a result of the easing of monetary policy by reducing the key interest rate, in order to provide greater liquidity in the economy and to support companies and citizens in a time of a global pandemic. In terms of inflation, it is above the initial projections and with 6.7 percent inflation in January. But this is moderate inflation, not galloping. Globally, food and energy prices are rising and this is a global phenomenon, not only in our country. Many economies also see higher inflation rates. Current developments in Russian-Ukrainian relations further affect global primary commodity markets, but the effects and duration of these trends will depend on the further development of the crisis. At present, inflation-related assumptions are being re-evaluated everywhere, but in neither scenario is the global or domestic economy galloping. What is important to emphasize and distinguish in public is that inflation is not a devaluation. We responsibly claim that the Denar is and will remain stable. We have a number of monetary instruments, among which the most important are the foreign exchange reserves which are at a high level, twice as high as in 2008. The stability of the denar exchange rate will not be questioned, NB assures.
Due to all the above facts, we assess that what was stated in the post we are reviewing is not true.