03 November 2015
The suspension of air traffic between Ukraine and Russia on 25 October has created a new opportunity for Belarus.
The national air carrier, Belavia, and the national aviation authorities reacted quickly by increasing aircraft capacity on the routes between Minsk and Kyiv and negotiating with Kiev over the opening of new routes to Ukraine.
Belarus already has experience in...
01 October 2015
On 26 September in New York, Alexander Lukashenka met with IMF chief Christine Lagarde. They discussed prospects for an IMF-supported programme.
According to the IMF statement “Lagarde welcomed some recent progress in strengthening the policy framework in Belarus, but emphasised that a more comprehensive reorientation of policies, consistently supported at the highest level, is...
30 September 2015
In the last month before the Presidential elections, the Belarusian economy continues to disappoint. Although decline in GDP has slowed, the -3.5 per cent growth has failed to impress. The Belarusian rouble continues to depreciate as oil prices plunge.
The authorities have promised further liberalisation of the economy in the near future....
28 September 2015
On 16 September a new regulation of the National Bank of Belarus on currency transactions came into effect. It forced all consulates in Belarus to suspend their activities for a few days in order for them to invent new ways of collecting payments from clients.
This is how Minsk attempts to limit the dollarization of the economy. Instead of fixing its monetary policy, the Belarusian...
23 September 2015
On 17 September, Alexander Lukashenka publicly explained to Vladimir Putin the process of milk production and to Nursultan Nazarbayev the functioning of the market economy. In this way the Belarusian state leader responded to critics who have questioned the quality of Belarusian milk.
Milk in Belarus plays a significant role in the economy, as the country ranks at 5th in the world milk...
15 September 2015
On 11 September candidates for Belarusian president officially started their campaigns. From the previous presidential campaign slogan “For independent, strong and prosperous Belarus”, Lukashenka left only “independent”.
In order to buy voters in 2010, Lukashenka embarked on excessive wage growth in the public sector, while exploiting international reserves to...
14 September 2015
On Friday, President Lukashenka announced that the promised Chinese loan of $7billion would help Belarus cope with the current crisis.
A week before this announcement, he had gone to China for his eighth visit to Beijing. Is Belarus succeeding in befriending the rising Asian power?
The devil that exists in Belarusian-Chinese cooperation hides in the details, and statistics on...
10 September 2015
On 14 August the Belarusian government approved a plan to increase tariffs on housing utilities to their full market cost. The state wants Belarusians to live under market conditions in five years time, which means tripling utility bills by 2020.
Housing utility reform features among the main conditions under discussion between Minsk and international financial institutions for the...
08 September 2015
The Belarusian economy keeps on contracting: in January-July it decreased by 4 per cent. However, a number of positive trends have arisen: wages and employment are stabilising, along with improvements in current account balances.
The latter might signal an imminent recovery, but that remains questionable. Increased sensitivity to global financial turbulence and the lack of policy...
03 September 2015
At the end of July the Minister of Transport Anatol Sivak reported to Lukashenka on important road projects in Belarus, including a second ring road around Minsk and a road toll system.
Belarusian roads have became a brand in post-Soviet countries and even the EU because of their high quality.
Yet the road service remains poor despite attempts by the government to develop it. Due...
31 August 2015
In July the Ministry of Trade announced a plan to levy a tax on online purchases in foreign shops. Since then the state agencies have been elaborating the methods that will be used for tax collection. It could become another tool to prevent Belarusian customers from buying abroad, both online and in the flesh.
Earning almost three times less than Poles and Lithuanians, Belarusians...
26 August 2015
On 24 August, the Brent oil price fell to $43, which was close to a 7-year low. Although Belarus has not got its own crude oil, this is terrible news for its economy. The cheaper the oil, the lower are benefits from the energy subsidies to Belarus from Russia.
Over the last 20 years Belarus has maintained, relatively successfully, a quasi-socialist economy mostly thanks to the generous...