Economic Monitor

Economic Monitor Issue 13 | updated March 2021

Overview

  • Real GDP fell by only 0.9% in 2020; decline very low in international comparison. In 2021, however, GDP will contract more sharply by -2.7%
  • Relatively soft COVID-19 measures explain the small decline in 2020; however, the ongoing political crisis clouds the outlook for 2021 in this context
  • Inflation (2020: 7.4%) rises above the target, but the National Bank has yet to react
  • Significant depreciation of exchange rate (-21%) despite sale of currency reserves (Feb-21: USD 7.1 bn); import cover drops to 2.6 months
  • Budget balance deteriorated significantly to -4.7% of GDP in 2020. As a result, sharp rise in debt ratio last year (50.9% of GDP)
  • Current account deficit increased in 2020 (-3.3% of GDP); only slight improvement in 2021 (-2.2%)
  • Foreign trade declined in 2020 due to COVID-19, the energy dispute with Russia and the low energy prices; both exports (2020: -11.9%) and imports (-17.4%) very weak
(more…)

Economic Monitor Issue 12 | June 2020

Overview

  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy is forecast to shrink by 6.0% in 2020. In 2021, real GDP will grow by 3.5%
  • The main negative impact comes from the external side, where oil-related problems with Russia and low global energy prices reinforce the shock. Contrary to most other countries, domestic lockdown measures are rather weak
  • Inflation remains under control (2020: 6.5%), and the National Bank continues to cut the key interest rate. Real wages keep growing in the run-up to the presidential elections
  • All the factors mentioned put pressure on the budget: balance will deteriorate significantly in 2020 to -4.6% of GDP. Correspondingly, the debt ratio will jump in 2020 (59.6% of GDP)
  • The exchange rate weakened significantly during 5M 2020 (-14.5%), and the national bank had to sell foreign exchange reserves (latest: USD 7.9 bn); import coverage dropped to 2.6 months
  • Current account deficit will widen in 2020 (-2.9% of GDP), before improving slightly in 2021 (-2.5%)
  • External trade will take a hit in 2020, as both exports (4M 2020: -19.1%) and imports (-20.6%) shrink among the global COVID-19 crisis, the energy dispute with Russia and low global energy prices
(more…)

Economic Monitor Issue 11 | January 2020

Topics:

  • Investment study: Identification of 35 proposals by German businesses to improve investment climate in Belarus
  • New initiatives to support SMEs: New approaches for financial SMEs support are being discussed as part of a new reform agenda. Focusing growth-oriented SMEs appears to be reasonable.
  • Agricultural exports: Exports of products of animal origin are heavily concentrated on the Russian market. Diversification encouraged, especially dairy products have potential.
(more…)