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1 Aug 2017

PM: Belarus’ economic indicators keep improving

MINSK, 1 August (BelTA) – Belarus’ major economic indicators keep improving, Belarus Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov said during an extended meeting of the Council of Ministers to discuss the economic performance in H1 and further measures to achieve the goals of 2017, BelTA has learned.

“Statistics indicate a persistent upward trend across the major economic development indicators. We have met six out of seven most important indicators of socio-economic development in the first half of 2017,” the prime minister said.

Andrei Kobyakov recalled that the country’s GDP increased by 1% over January-June 2016. “It is higher than we planned: the H1 target was 0.2%. The labor productivity has been outpacing the GDP growth. We recorded an increase of 2.7% in January-May. In May we added another 0.7 percentage points. We secured a surplus in foreign trade, which was more than $265 million in January-May, or 1.3% of GDP. Last year, the result was $511 million less. We ran a deficit of $246 million,” he said.

The prime minister also stressed that the impact of the monetary factors on inflation is getting smaller. The rate of inflation was 3.4% in H1 2017 while the H1 forecast was no more than 6.7%. This is the lowest inflation rate over the past 10 years. “We just fail to meet one indicator, namely the real disposable income of people, although we see some growth there, too. In January-May real wages grew by 2%, and this growth was fully secured by the productivity growth (2.7% in January-May). It should be noted that the level of income of the population is affected not only by the level of wages and pensions but also by the rates on bank deposits. Individuals used to earn on high interest rates while the economy did not have access to affordable resources. Now the credit-deposit market has achieved some balance and is gradually getting back to normal,” he stated.

Andrei Kobyakov noted the Labor and Social Security Ministry together with all stakeholders developed a plan of action to meet the wage growth target (Br1,000 on average) by the end of the year. In June, nominal wages amounted to Br819.3, some 1% behind under the target. “We are Br9 under the target,” he said.

The head of government also said that the budget is executed as planned. In H1 the budget surplus amounted to Br1.3 billion, or 2.7% of GDP and has been used to repay the country’s debt. The overall financial performance of the economy is improving. In January-May the net revenue exceeded Br4 billion, up 2.4 times over the same period a year earlier. Such a trend is observed in almost all industries. The exception is the Construction and Architecture Ministry (Br60 million in net loss) and Belkoopsoyuz (net loss of Br7.77 million),” he noted.

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