Belarus Economy 2009

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Belarus Economy 2009

Economy - overview:
Belarus has seen little structural reform since 1995, when President LUKASHENKO launched the country on the path of "market socialism." In keeping with this policy, LUKASHENKO reimposed administrative controls over prices and currency exchange rates and expanded the state's right to intervene in the management of private enterprises. Since 2005, the government has re-nationalized a number of private companies. In addition, businesses have been subject to pressure by central and local governments, e.g., arbitrary changes in regulations, numerous rigorous inspections, retroactive application of new business regulations, and arrests of "disruptive" businessmen and factory owners. A wide range of redistributive policies has helped those at the bottom of the ladder; the Gini coefficient is among the lowest in the world. Because of these restrictive economic policies, Belarus has had trouble attracting foreign investment. Nevertheless, government statistics indicate GDP growth has been strong in recent years, reaching more than 8% in 2008, despite the roadblocks of a tough, centrally directed economy with a high rate of inflation. Belarus receives discounted oil and natural gas from Russia and much of Belarus' growth can be attributed to the re-export of Russian oil at market prices. Trade with Russia - by far its largest single trade partner - decreased in 2007-08, largely as a result of a change in the way the Value Added Tax (VAT) on trade was collected. Russia has introduced an export duty on oil shipped to Belarus, which will increase gradually through 2009, and a requirement that Belarusian duties on re-exported Russian oil be shared with Russia - 80% was slated to go to Russia in 2008, and 85% in 2009. Russia also increased Belarusian natural gas prices from $47 per thousand cubic meters (tcm) to $100 per tcm in 2007, and increased to $128 per tcm in 2008, and plans to increase prices gradually to world levels by 2011. Russia's recent policy of bringing energy prices for Belarus to world market levels may result in a slowdown in economic growth in Belarus over the next few years. Some policy measures, including improving energy efficiency and diversifying exports, have been introduced, but external borrowing has been the main mechanism used to manage the growing pressures on the economy. Belarus felt the effects of the global financial crisis in late 2008 and reached agreement with Russia in November for a $2 billion stabilization loan and with the IMF for a $2.5 billion stand-by agreement in January 2009. In line with IMF conditionality, Belarus devalued the ruble approximately 20% in January and has tightened some fiscal and monetary policies. Belarus's economic growth is likely to slow in 2009 as it faces decreasing demand for its exports, and will find it difficult to increase external borrowing if the credit markets continue to tighten.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$114.1 billion (2008 est.)
$104.5 billion (2007)
$96.59 billion (2006)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$57.68 billion (2008 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
9.2% (2008 est.)
8.2% (2007 est.)
9.9% (2006 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$11,800 (2008 est.)
$10,700 (2007 est.)
$9,900 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 8.4%
industry: 41.5%
services: 50.1% (2008 est.)

Labor force:
4.3 million (31 December 2005)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 14%
industry: 34.7%
services: 51.3% (2003 est.)

Unemployment rate:
1.6% officially registered unemployed; large number of underemployed workers (2005)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3.4%
highest 10%: 23.5% (2002)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
27.9 (2005)

Investment (gross fixed):
31.5% of GDP (2008 est.)

revenues: $25.23 billion
expenditures: $26.05 billion (2008 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
15.5% (2008 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
10% (31 December 2007)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
8.58% (31 December 2007)

Stock of money:
$4.065 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$6.823 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of domestic credit:
$12.16 billion (31 December 2007)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Agriculture - products:
grain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax; beef, milk

metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, televisions, synthetic fibers, fertilizer, textiles, radios, refrigerators

Industrial production growth rate:
11.5% (2008 est.)

Electricity - production:
29.91 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - consumption:
30.43 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - exports:
5.789 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - imports:
10.15 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Oil - production:
33,700 bbl/day (2007 est.)

Oil - consumption:
179,700 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil - exports:
256,400 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - imports:
394,100 bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
198 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Natural gas - production:
164 million cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
21.76 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - imports:
21.6 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
2.832 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Current account balance:
-$3.832 billion (2008 est.)

$31.81 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, mineral products, chemicals, metals, textiles, foodstuffs

Exports - partners:
Russia 36.5%, Netherlands 17.8%, UK 6.3%, Ukraine 6.1%, Poland 5%, Latvia 4.1% (2007)

$36.64 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities:
mineral products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, metals

Imports - partners:
Russia 59.9%, Germany 7.6%, Ukraine 5.4% (2007)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$3.775 billion (November 2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$9.127 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
Belarusian rubles (BYB/BYR) per US dollar - 2,130 (2008 est.), 2,145 (2007), 2,144.6 (2006), 2,150 (2005), 2,160.26 (2004)

NOTE: The information regarding Belarus on this page is re-published from the 2009 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Belarus Economy 2009 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Belarus Economy 2009 should be addressed to the CIA.

This page was last modified 10-Jun-09
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