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.
30 June 2015
A labour strike at a major state-owned plant in June suggests that the current economic crisis will present serious political challenges to Belarus. Despite it being an election year, wages and pensions are not growing – a rare occurrence. Yet, it stagnating incomes are not the country's primary problem.
Many state-owned enterprises do not have enough money to even pay...
27 May 2015
According to the press release published by International Monetary Fund on 19 May the possible losses for the Belarusian economy in 2015 will amount 2.3 per cent of the GDP and $2bn of its foreign exchange reserves.
The consequences of the economic crisis in Belarus have multiplied and more problems are on their way.
The intensification of economic relations with China...
29 April 2015
The first quarter of 2015 displayed a number of distressing trends in Belarusian economy.
The adjustment of the exchange rate has not secured the restoration of competitiveness. Furthermore, the government has to resort to conservative policies for mitigating structural weaknesses.
The economy has gone into recession, which was accompanied by lower real wages and...
08 April 2015
On 2 April, Alexander Lukashenka signed a decree against “social parasites”. From now on, individuals who do not pay taxes will lose be forced to submit around $240 annually into the the state’s coffers.
This law is designed to help stimulate employment and fill any number of budget gaps, but it should be viewed in terms of how it reflects the natin's rising...
20 March 2015
On 17 March, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka paid a personal visit to a popular bazaar in Minsk, the capital, to resolve a conflict between the authorities and local street vendors.
Earlier this month, a new government request was issued requiring all street vendors to obtain quality certificates. That prompted the vendors to go on strike.
Although Belarusian officials...
26 February 2015
Belarus is reeling from the effects of the wobbling oil price and Western-imposed sanctions on Russia.
The economy is now paying for the absence of liberal reforms through a decrease in manufacturing, the depreciation of the national currency and the need for budget cuts. The lack of good economic and political news suggests that the recovery will take a long time.
17 February 2015
Whilst 2014 was a bad year for the Belarusian economy on the whole, it brought in plenty of profit for Belavia, Belarusian Airlines and Minsk National Airport.
Without any competition from low-cost airlines, Belavia has been able to safely modernise its fleet of planes and not lose its grip on the market. Whereas in the past the National Airport looked like a trip back to the USSR...
30 January 2015
For 2015, any positive growth would be considered a great success for the Belarusian authorities. Apart from external shocks, several structural challenges have emerged.
A spike in inflation, deeper depreciation of the national currency, the distress of the banking industry, and growing unemployment have all become urgent issues that must be addressed.
The government is trying to...
27 January 2015
In Soviet times, machine building was a driver of economic growth in Belarus. It is not so today.
According to the Ministry of Finance, the Belarusian Automobile Plant, the Minsk Automobile Plant and the Minsk Tractor Plant lost $76m over a nine month period in 2014.
The decline in the industry has influenced the whole country. The state's economy suffers losses not only in...
14 January 2015
Belarus remains a blank spot on the map for many foreigners. A mere 137,000 tourists visited the country in 2013—twenty-one times fewer than the number who visited tiny Estonia.
Onerous visa requirements, combined with an underdeveloped service industry, undermine the country’s efforts to attract foreign visitors.
The world’s largest travel guide company, Lonely...
07 January 2015
Belarus's GDP growth managed to strengthen in November. But despite this, many signals about an upcoming downturn have appeared. The Russian economic contagion began to spread to Belarus through trade and informational channels.
The government reacted by introducing a de-facto 30% devaluation that was accomplished in a rather ‘creative’ manner. But this decision seems to...