Belarus

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Economics

Economy - overview

As part of the former Soviet Union, Belarus had a relatively well-developed industrial base; it retained this industrial base - which is now outdated, energy inefficient, and dependent on subsidized Russian energy and preferential access to Russian markets - following the breakup of the USSR. The country also has a broad agricultural base which is inefficient and dependent on government subsidies. After an initial burst of capitalist reform from 1991-94, including privatization of state enterprises, creation of institutions of private property, and development of entrepreneurship, Belarus' economic development greatly slowed. About 80% of all industry remains in state hands, and foreign investment has been hindered by a climate hostile to business. A few banks, which had been privatized after independence, were renationalized. State banks account for 75% of the banking sector. Economic output, which had declined for several years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, revived in the mid-2000s thanks to the boom in oil prices. Belarus has only small reserves of crude oil, though is imports most of its crude oil and natural gas from Russia at substantially below world market prices. Belarus exported refined oil products at market prices produced from Russian crude oil purchased at a steep discount. In late 2006, Russia began a process of rolling back its subsidies on oil and gas to Belarus. Tensions over Russian energy reached a peak in 2010, when Russia stopped the export of all subsidized oil to Belarus save for domestic needs. In December 2010, Russia and Belarus reached a deal to restart the export of discounted oil to Belarus. In November 2011, Belarus and Russia reached an agreement to drastically reduce the price of natural gas in exchange for selling to Russia the remaining share of Beltransgaz, the Belarusian natural gas pipeline operator. Little new foreign investment has occurred in receent years. In 2011, a financial crisis began, triggered by government directed salary hikes unsupported by commensurtate productivity increases. The crisis was compounded by an increased cost in Russian energy inputs and an overvalued Belarusian rubel, and eventuarlly led to a near three-fold devaluation of the Belarusian rubel in 2011. The situation has stabilized short-term due to a $3 billion loan from the Russian-dominated Eurasian Economic Community Bail-out Fund, a $1 billion loan from the Russian state-owned bank Sberbank, and the $2.5 billion sale of Beltranzgas to Russian state-owned Gazprom.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$140.9 billion (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 61

$134.1 billion (2010 est.)

$124.7 billion (2009 est.)

note: data are in 2011 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):

$57.7 billion (2011 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

5% (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 76

7.6% (2010 est.)

0.2% (2009 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$14,900 (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 85

$14,200 (2010 est.)

$13,100 (2009 est.)

note: data are in 2011 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 9.6%

industry: 46.4%

services: 44% (2011 est.)

Labor force:

5 million (2009)

country comparison to the world: 74

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 14%

industry: 34.7%

services: 51.3% (2003 est.)

Unemployment rate:

1% (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 5

1.6% (2005)

note: official registered unemployed; large number of underemployed workers

Population below poverty line:

27.1% (2003 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 3.8%

highest 10%: 21.9% (2008)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

27.2 (2008)

country comparison to the world: 128

21.7 (1998)

Investment (gross fixed):

43.2% of GDP (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

Budget:

revenues: $19.19 billion

expenditures: $19.99 billion (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:

33.3% of GDP (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 75

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):

-1.4% of GDP (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 66

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

40.9% (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 222

7.8% (2010 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

10.5% (31 December 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 17

13.5% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:

11% (31 December 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 112

9.217% (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of narrow money:

$3.307 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 113

$4.554 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of broad money:

$16.75 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 91

$13.31 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:

$18.94 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 84

$25.25 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

$NA

Agriculture - products:

grain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax; beef, milk

Industries:

metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, televisions, synthetic fibers, fertilizer, textiles, radios, refrigerators

Electricity - production:

32.95 billion kWh (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 62

Electricity - consumption:

31.07 billion kWh (2008 est.)

country comparison to the world: 59

Electricity - exports:

5.245 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:

1.84 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:

31,010 bbl/day (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69

Oil - consumption:

163,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 64

Oil - exports:

310,500 bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 42

Oil - imports:

471,400 bbl/day (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 28

Oil - proved reserves:

198 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 62

Natural gas - production:

150 million cu m (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 76

Natural gas - consumption:

17.75 billion cu m (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 37

Natural gas - exports:

0 cu m (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 65

Natural gas - imports:

17.6 billion cu m (2009 est.)

country comparison to the world: 17

Natural gas - proved reserves:

2.832 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 95

Current account balance:

-$4.077 billion (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 169

-$8.493 billion (2010 est.)

Exports:

$26.29 billion (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 66

$25.35 billion (2010 est.)

Exports - commodities:

machinery and equipment, mineral products, chemicals, metals, textiles, foodstuffs

Exports - partners:

Russia 38.9%, Netherlands 11%, Ukraine 10.2% (2010)

Imports:

$30.43 billion (2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 64

$34.47 billion (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities:

mineral products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, metals

Imports - partners:

Russia 51.8%, Germany 6.8%, Ukraine 5.4%, China 4.8% (2010)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$2.4 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 115

$3.431 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Debt - external:

$29.63 billion (31 December 2011 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69

$22.13 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Exchange rates:

Belarusian rubles (BYB/BYR) per US dollar -

4,351.1 (2011 est.)

2,978.51 (2010 est.)

2,789.49 (2009)

2,130 (2008)

2,145 (2007)