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Economy of Belarus: Overview

In 2017, after a two-year decline in the Belarusian economy, GDP growth is more than 2%. Industrial production (+ 6.1%) and agriculture ensured the bulk of the growth in the economy. Almost all branches of the manufacturing industry showed positive dynamics for the year. The positive dynamics of production and tight monetary policy of the National Bank of Belarus allowed the country's leadership to keep inflation at the level of 4.6%. The refinancing rate of the National Bank of Belarus has decreased to 10% (for the first time since 2007).

The Republic of Belarus is an export-oriented state with a developed service sector and agriculture. The potential of Belarus is in industry. The key sectors of the economy are machine building, metallurgy, metalworking, the production of agricultural machinery and tractors, the production of building materials, light and textile industries, the chemical and petrochemical industry, the production of electrical equipment and electronics, agriculture.

The sectoral structure of Belarusian industry has undergone some changes over the past 5 years. Structural shifts are associated with a decrease in the share of production of petroleum products, production of vehicles and equipment, as well as an increase in the share of the food industry, pharmaceutical products, chemical production.

According to the results of 2017, positive foreign trade balance amounted to 63.2 million dollars or 0.1% of GDP. The export of goods and services in 2017 amounted to 36.4 billion US dollars and grew by 6.5 billion dollars or 21.7%, compared with the results of 2016. The growth in the total volume of exports of goods and services was due to both an increase in exports of goods (124%) and services (113.9%). The main reasons for the high growth rates are the favorable conjuncture in the world oil market, as well as the growth of the economies of the trading partners.

Import of goods and services in 2017 amounted to 36.4 billion dollars and increased by 6.4 bn USD, or 21.2% compared to 2016. The growth was due to the growth in imports of goods (123.3%), import of services amounted to 109.3%. Exports of goods in 2017 amounted to 29.2 bn USD, and increased by 5.7 bn USD (124.1% compared to 2016).In 2017, export growth was ensured for all large commodity groups. Exports of consumer goods increased by 15.6%, energy — by 33.5%, other intermediate goods — by 22.9%.

Export of investment goods increased (131.5% by 2016). Imports of goods in 2017 amounted to 34.2 bn USD, increased by 6.6 bn USD (124%), compared to 2016. Export of services amounted to 7.8 bn USD in 2017 and exceeded the results of 2016 by 13.9% (+952.1 mln USD). The largest growth in exports is recorded in the following types of services: repair and maintenance services — 149% (+106.9 mln USD), services for handling material resoures belonging to other parties — 123.3% (+32.7 mln USD ), payments for the use of intellectual property — 117.5% (+4.8 mln USD), transportation services — 117.9% (+523.5 mln USD), telecommunications, computer and information services — 125.3% (+292.9 mln USD), services in the field of insurance and pensions — 121.9% (+3.9 mln USD), services to individuals and services in the sphere of culture and recreation — 117.8% (2.4 mln USD), other business — 115.7% (82 mln USD). Transport services made up the largest share in the structure of exports of services in 2017 — 44.4% (2016 — 42.9%).The share of telecommunications, computer and information services in exports was 18.7% (2016 — 17%).

Import of services in 2017 amounted to 4.8 bn USD and increased compared to 2016 by 406.2 mln USD or 9.3%.The greatest decrease in imports was for other business services (80.2% or 113 mln USD). The balance of foreign trade in services in 2017 was positive at $ 3.0 billion, which is $545.9 mln USD better than in the same period in 2016.

Belarus has a steady inflow of foreign investment. In 2017, foreign investors invested 9.73 bln USD of gross foreign investments in the real sector of the economy of Belarus, including 7.63 bln USD of foreign direct investment (FDI). In 2017 admission of foreign direct investment on a net basis (excluding debt to direct investor for goods, works and services) to the economy of the Republic of Belarus amounted to 1.25 bln USD.

As of January 1, 2017 in the Republic of Belarus there are 6575 registered companies with foreign capital, including 3446 of joint ventures, 3087 of foreign enterprises. The total contribution of foreign investors in the authorized capital of enterprises with foreign capital amounted to 2325.9 mln USD (1070.7 mln USD in joint ventures, 1225.4 mln USD in foreign enterprises.

 

Sovereign Credit Ratings of the Republic of Belarus

 

Rating Agency

Long-term Rating

Short-term Rating

Outlook

Date of the latest review

 
 

Standard & Poor’s

B

B

Stable

05.10.2018

 

Fitch Ratings

B

B

Stable

20.07.2018

 

Moody’s

B3

-

Stable

16.03.2018

 

China Chengxin International Credit Rating Co., Ltd.

АА+ (national scale)
ВВg (global scale)

-

Stable

03.09.2018

 

 

Credit ratings of leading Belarusian banks (JSC “Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus”, JSC “JSSB Belarusbank”, JSC “Belagroprombank”) correspond to the Sovereign Credit Rating of the Republic of Belarus.

 

 

Bank

Long-term Rating

Short-term Rating

Outlook

Date of the latest review

 
 

Standard & Poor’s

 

JSC “Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus”

B

B

Stable

06.06.2018

 

JSC “JSSB Belarusbank”

B

B

Stable

04.2018

 

JSC “Belagroprombank”

B

B

Stable

2018

 

Fitch Ratings

 

JSC “Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus”

B

B

Stable

15.06.2018

 

JSC “JSSB Belarusbank”

B

B

Stable

2018