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...
24 December 2014
On 11 December, the Belarusian parliament took only 50 minutes to adopt its 2015 budget.
The rapid adoption of the budget highlights the parliament's puppet status - it could not even be troubled to hold even demonstrative discussions over the important document.
Although more than 80% of Belarusians believe that budget information should be easily accessible, even experts...
17 December 2014
Since 2014 the pattern of illegal exports from Belarus to EU has moved towards larger consignments. Large quantities of detained tobacco found on cargo trains. On 6 November Jury Siańko became the Head of the State Customs Committee. Will he change the current situation with smuggling from Belarus to...
09 December 2014
With the economy dominated by the state and its illiberal trade laws, many Belarusians are increasingly taking to shopping abroad.
In the the middle of November, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group reported that customers from Belarus ranked fifth in the number of purchases, leaving behind the US and Canada in the online sales on Chinese anti-Valentine's Day holiday known as...
03 December 2014
Belarus displayed modest but stable growth during past couple of months.
However, future prospects for growth remain uncertain, given the deteriorating economic situation in Russia along with the desire of the authorities to carry out several growth stimulating policies.
Moreover, there are questions with respect to both the exchange rate and interest rate policy that the...
12 November 2014
Belarus and Ukraine are currently studying the economic feasibility of reviving the E40 waterway which goes along the Vistula and Dnieper rivers. It will connect the Baltic and Black Seas and make inland shipping cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
On 10 October the trilateral commission presented their project on the route's restoration at the international exhibition "...
03 November 2014
Belarus ranks 53rd out of 187 countries in the 2014 Human Development Index (HDI). That places it ahead of fellow post-Soviet states Russia (57th), Kazakhstan (70th), and Ukraine (83rd).
To measure development, HDI underscores the importance of “people and their capabilities” rather than economic metrics. It combines three dimensions of development: population health, access...
29 October 2014
On 20 October the government announced a plan to introduce punishment for sponging ('tuneyadstvo’). It was practiced in Soviet times and it may return to Belarus again. About 10% of population able to work do not pay taxes although the official unemployment rate is only 0,5%.
Belarus has one of the largest shadow economies in the region. Over the last years the Belarusian...
24 October 2014
The main economic events for October in Belarus revolve around Russia: the ratification of the Eurasian Economic Union, the continued fighting over the re-export of banned European foodstuffs to Russia, and, finally, an argument over Russia’s oil tax manoeuvre.
Russia’s actions, both political and economic, further complicate the situation with the Belarusian economy, which...