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flag Belarus Belarus: Economic and Political Outline

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline

 

Economic Indicators

A member of a common economic space with Russia and Kazakhstan since 2012, Belarus is both largely state administered (over 70% of GDP is generated by public or quasi public enterprises) and very opened commercially.

Even today, Belarus' economy remains an economy in transition, inherited from the former Soviet bloc. After its independence in 1991, Belarus slowly adopted market-economy reforms, and in particular numerous privatizations. The country has always maintained close relations with Russia. Since 2005 and the accession of Loukachenko to the power, the country, which had adopted a "market socialism", has re-nationalized many private companies and the pressure from the part of the government has become stronger in the business field: arbitrary changes in regulations, numerous inspections, arrest of businessmen and factory owners.

Belarus obtains gas and oil from Russia at a reduced price and its growth comes largely from the re-exportation of Russian oil at market price which has created a source of tension with Russia. Trade with Russian, by far its largest trading partner, fluctuates according to the tensions between these two countries.

Despite the financial crisis the country is experiencing, the Belarusian GDP has been growing steadily in recent years, reaching 2.1% ​​in 2013 (after 3% in 2012). However, the effects of the global crisis have been deeply felt, especially in the industrial sector.

In great difficulties economically and financially since 2011, the authorities have had to agree to a significant devaluation of the currency, the Belarusian ruble losing over 50% of its value within only a few months. Minsk was been granted a loan of $3.5 billion from the anti-crisis fund of the Eurasian Economic Community to support the economy: inflation reached 35% in 2013. Seeking external funding, Belarus also called on the IMF and requested the establishment of a new "Stand By" program for an amount of up to $ 8 billion. However, according to the IMF, the lack of progress in implementing the necessary reforms and recommendations - such as price liberalization, privatization, floating the currency and wage freezes - will not allow to resolve the situation in the near future. In a statement made ​​in June 2011, the World Bank described the economic model of Belarus as "out of breath." 2013 has been relatively stable after the 2011 crisis but without structural reforms strong trade deficit are recurrent. Belarus, a "breathless country" according to the World Bank, was saved from bankruptcy thanks to the financial help of Russia, a country which help remains critical to the country in 2014.

 
Main Indicators 20112012201320142015 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 59.7463.6271.71e77.17e81.63
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 5.51.70.90.91.5
GDP per Capita (USD) 6,3006,7217e8,195e8,712
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 45.938.537.0e35.7e35.1
Inflation Rate (%) 53.259.218.318.616.9
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force) 0.70.60.50.50.5
Current Account (billions USD) -5.05-1.84-7.28e-6.57-6.06
Current Account (in % of GDP) -8.5-2.9-10.1-8.5-7.4

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database , Last Available Data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

Agriculture has contributed to 10.3% of the country’s GDP in 2013, employing 7.5% of the active population. The country is the third largest producer of milk in Europe.

The industry sector accounts for 38.5% of the GDP and employs over 35.5% of workforce. The main industries of Belarus are machine tools, agricultural equipment, fertilizers, chemical products, prefabricated construction material, motor vehicles, motorcycles, textiles and some consumer products (such as refrigerators, watches, televisions, and radios).

The tertiary sector contributes to 52.2% to the GDP and employs more than half of the Belarusian workforce (57%).

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 10.5 33.7 49.9
Value Added (in % of GDP) 9.1 42.2 48.6
Value Added (Annual % Change) -3.8 -2.0 5.2

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

 
 
 
Monetary Indicators 20092010201120122013
Belarussian Rubble (BYR) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 2,793.052,978.514,974.638,336.908,880.05

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

 
 

Learn more about Market Analyses about Belarus on Globaltrade.net, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
50.1/100
Position:
Mostly Unfree
World Rank:
150/178
Regional Rank:
42/43

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2014 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation

 
 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

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Foreign Trade in Figures

As a legacy of the Soviet period, during which Belarus was the assembly line of the USSR, production structures between Russia and Belarus are still largely complementary. As a result, the Belarusian economy remains heavily oriented towards the Russian market, which is both its natural out and the main supplier (over 50% of total trade in 2013).

The country's main import partners in 2013 were Russia, Germany, China, Ukraine and Poland. Belarus is an important transit country for oil from Russia, which has guaranteed supplies of oil and gas at below-market rates for many years.

Its main customers are Russia, the Netherlands, Ukraine and Latvia.

The country's sustained economic growth has nonetheless been accompanied by significant external imbalances, especially of its trade deficit, which has deteriorated significantly in 2011 before being reduced to around 415 million USD in 2013. Since spring 2011, the country has been experiencing a severe currency crisis. The devaluation of the Belarusian ruble in May 2011 has not been a sufficient short-term solution and continue to have a great impact on the country's foreign trade.

The trade balance remains largely negative, particularly because of the rising prices of oil sold to Belarus by Russia. In 2014, Russia remains the largest trading partner of Belarus, a country appearing more and more isolated and over dependant on its neighbor.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20092010201120122013
Imports of Goods (million USD) 28,56934,88445,77146,40442,999
Exports of Goods (million USD) 21,30425,28441,41945,99137,232
Imports of Services (million USD) 2,0312,8543,1803,6664,116
Exports of Services (million USD) 3,4534,4635,2545,9136,849
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -9.112.218.510.9-4.2
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -7.87.730.411.2-16.0
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 61.866.982.276.764.0
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 50.553.281.181.361.2
Trade Balance (million USD) -7,105-9,289-3,467565-4,593
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -5,608-7,500-1,2092,834-2,429
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 112.3120.1163.3158.1125.2

Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank , Last Available Data

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2013
Russia 45.0%
Ukraine 11.3%
Netherlands 9.0%
Germany 4.7%
Lithuania 2.9%
See More Countries 27.2%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2013
Russia 52.5%
Germany 7.1%
China 6.6%
Ukraine 4.8%
Poland 3.7%
See More Countries 25.5%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 
 

Main Products

- bn USD of products exported in 2013
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 27.3%
Mineral or chemical potassic fertilizers (excl....Mineral or chemical potassic fertilizers (excl. those in pellet or similar forms, or in packages with a gross weight of <= 10 kg) 5.5%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 3.3%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl....Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 3.0%
Tractors (other than tractors of heading 8709)Tractors (other than tractors of heading 8709) 2.9%
See More Products 58.0%
- bn USD of products imported in 2013
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 19.5%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 8.2%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 1.2%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 1.1%
Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl....Motor vehicles for the transport of goods, incl. chassis with engine and cab 1.1%
See More Products 68.9%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

 
See More Products
More imports (Intracen Data)
More exports (Intracen Data)
 
 

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministries
Ministry of Finance (in Belarusian only)
Ministry of Energy
Statistical Office
The Ministry of Statistics and Analysis of the Republic of Belarus
Central Bank
National Bank of the Republic of Belarus
Stock Exchange
Belarusian Stock Exchange
Search Engines
Akavita
Zubr
Belarusian.com
Economic Portals
Portal of the Republic of Belarus

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Political Outline

Executive Power
President is the chief of the state and is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. The President holds the executive powers. Prime Minister, deputy prime ministers and the Council of Ministers are appointed by the President.
Legislative Power
The legislature in Belarus is bicameral. The parliament also called National Assembly consists of two chambers: Council of the Republic (the upper house) consisting of 64 seats out of which 56 members are elected by regional councils and 8 members appointed by the president, all for four-year terms; and the Chamber of Representatives (the lower house) consisting of 110 seats with all its members elected by universal adult suffrage to serve four-year terms. The people of Belarus have very limited political rights.
Main Political Parties
The main political parties are: AP (Agrarian Party), KPB (Belarusian Communist Party), Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus, Republican Party of Labor and Justice, Socialist Sports Party. Parties that support the President have a chance at elections. Opposition parties are allowed to contest elections, but are widely considered to have no real chance of gaining power.
Current Political Leaders
President: Aleksandr LUKASHENKO (since July 1994, re-elected in September 2001, in March 2006 and in December 2010) – supported by a group of 5 parties & a large number of independent members of the National Assembly.
Prime Minister: Sergei SIDORSKIY (since December 2003) – appointed by the President.
Next Election Dates
Presidential: 2015
National Assembly: September 2016
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures the violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire sent to partner organizations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and activists of human rights, including the main criteria - 44 in total - to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
157/180
Evolution:
same place compared to 2013

Source: Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2014, Reporters Without Borders

 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Not Free
Political Freedom:
7/7

Map of freedom 2014
Source: Freedom House

 

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Last Updates: October 2014