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...
19 August 2015
On 28 July Belarus received a long-awaited loan from the Russian government worth $760 million. This was just in time to transfer the funds to the pockets of other borrowers - on the same day Belarus was due to pay $1 billion to the 5-years Eurobonds’ holders.
However, initially, it aimed at the repayment and servicing of Belarus’ debts to Russia and the Eurasian Fund for...
18 August 2015
Belarus became the primary beneficiary of the food embargo, which Russia imposed against Western nations in August 2014. In January – May 2015, Belarus supplied 916.4 thousand tons of embargoed products to Russia, a 53.5% increase over the same period in 2014.
Two weeks after Russia introduced its food embargo, Howard Solomon, the minister counsellor at the US Embassy in Moscow,...
14 August 2015
Agriculture was the fastest growing branch of the Belarusian economy in the first half of 2015. Many in Russia and other post-Soviet countries consider Belarus to be a model when it comes to maintaining a viable agricultural sector.
But in reality, the Belarusian government spends more on agriculture than the sector’s value added. Despite substantial subsidies many Belarusian...
05 August 2015
According to the official five-year Socio-Economic Development Programme For 2011-2015 the GDP was supposed to increase by 62-68 per cent by the end of 2015. In reality, the growth is likely to hit around 6 per cent. How did the government manage to get it wrong by such a large disparity?
After 25 years of...
29 July 2015
The first half of the year has shown clear evidence that the Belarusian economy needs better incentives to revive its industrial strengths.
In July the authorities announced their plans to provide financial assistance to several "giants" of industry. However, this decision has cast doubts over whether or not other taxpayers will ask the same from the state.
27 July 2015
Two weeks ago, Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister Aliaksandr Hurjanau declared Belarus was planning to finish all of the necessary technical work for the country’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in one year's time. However, exactly three years ago he also projected that Belarus would join the WTO by the end of 2013. Is this time going to be any different?
21 July 2015
This month, the Belarusian Ministry of Finance will issue bonds for $425.8 million to bail out Gomselmash (abbreviation for Homiel Rural Machine Building), the most important industrial holding company of the second largest city in the country. The large cost of issue reflects the size of Gomselmash’s problems.
The holding fails to sell its products, is reluctant to lay off people...
10 July 2015
On 9 July General Motors and JV Unison signed an agreement to assemble Chevrolet Tahoe and Cadillac Eskaleyd automobiles in the Minsk region.
From the beginning of the year, several international fast food chains have announced a desire to open shop in Belarus. New businesses include major American brands such as Burger King, KFC, and Texas Chicken.
But despite official claims...
09 July 2015
Last Thursday, Chinese workers in the Homel Province of Belarus broke out in a protest over wage arrears. The labour conflict went public and was yet another sign of growing Chinese activity in Belarus. The protest, unusual for Belarus, left an impression locally with one thousand Chinese working to construct a board factory in a Belarusian town with a population of only 20,000 people.