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Opinions & Interviews

31 Jul 2018

PM: Belarus’ GDP growth higher than projected in H1 2018

PM: Belarus’ GDP growth higher than projected in H1 2018

MINSK, 31 July (BelTA) - Belarus’ GDP has been growing faster than projected, all major social and economic development targets are being met, Belarus Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov said at a government conference to review the H1 2018 economic performance and the measures to achieve the 2018 goals, BelTA has learned.

“In general, the H1 results are good. All major social and economic development targets approved by the head of state are being met. State social guarantees to the population are fulfilled. The growth dynamics has been pretty good,” Andrei Kobyakov noted.

The GDP growth is 4.5%, which is higher than the 2.8% forecast. All regions have reported the growth of the gross regional product and productivity.

Positive results have been seen across all economic sections. Processing manufacturing expanded by 7.9%, construction by 7.5%, trade (wholesale and retail) by 7.8%. Agriculture and transport went up by 3.9% and 3.7% respectively. Production of machinery and equipment surged by 19.2%, transport vehicles by 13.7%, woodworking products by 14.8%, and pharmaceutical products by 11.9%.

Foreign trade remains balanced. Surplus of trade in merchandise and services came at $310 million(in January-May) or 1.4% of GDP. “The result is slightly better than last year. It is due to the growth of exports of goods and services, particularly to non-CIS countries. In addition to energy products, Belarus increased export of tractors, trucks, tires, steel products, furniture and woodworking products, paints and varnishes, linen fabrics, milk and other products. In January-May the exports of goods and services totaled $3 billion ($2.4 billion in trade in goods, $0.6 in service). Almost half of the growth of commodity export came through the growth of physical volumes,” Andrei Kobyakov noted.

Low inflation together with other measures help reduce the cost of credit resources for the economy. The National Bank cut down the refinancing rate to 10% per annum in June. New loans for legal entities in rubles (except soft loans) were issued under 11.3% per annum in June.

The head of government said that the currency, credit-deposit and financial markets remain stable. The confidence in the national currency has been gradually increasing. Term ruble deposits increased by Br412 million in H1 2018. Their share in the total amount of savings went up by 3%.

Andrei Kobyakov recalled that the government urged to take action to reduce rates on previously attracted loans and to change the currency of lending. “It is unacceptable when the rates on the previously issued loans far exceed the current interest rates or when the interest on such loans is compensated from the budget,” the head of government said and asked the vice premiers to deal with the situation.

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