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Belarus Economy 1996

    • Overview:
      Belarus ranks among the most developed of the former Soviet states, with a relatively modern - by Soviet standards - and diverse machine building sector and a robust agriculture sector. It also serves as a transport link for Russian oil exports to the Baltic states and Eastern and Western Europe. The breakup of the Soviet Union and its command economy has resulted in a sharp economic contraction as traditional trade ties have collapsed. The Belarusian government has lagged behind the governments of most other former Soviet states in economic reform, with privatization almost nonexistent. The system of state orders and distribution persists. In mid-1994, the Belarusian government embarked on an austerity program with IMF support to slash state credits and consumer subsidies in order to bring down the budget deficit and reduce inflation. However, despite its promising start, the regime's drive to reinvigorate the economy has fallen short, and the IMF has criticized its failure to implement the reforms that the Fund had negotiated. As a result, the IMF has suspended talks on introducing a stand-by arrangement. Economic relations with Russia, which will have an important bearing on the future course of the economy, will be strengthened if Minsk adopts the necessary legislation to implement a customs union agreed to in January 1995.

    • National product:
      GDP - purchasing power parity - $53.4 billion (1994 estimate as extrapolated from World Bank estimate for 1992)

    • National product real growth rate:
      -20% (1994)

    • National product per capita:
      $5,130 (1994 est.)

    • Inflation rate (consumer prices):
      29% per month (1994)

    • Unemployment rate:
      1.4% officially registered unemployed (December 1993); large numbers of underemployed workers

    • Budget:


        $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA

    • Exports:
      $968 million to outside of the FSU countries (f.o.b., 1994)

        machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs

        Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Bulgaria

    • Imports:
      $534 million from outside the FSU countries (c.i.f., 1994)

        fuel, natural gas, industrial raw materials, textiles, sugar

        Russia, Ukraine, Poland

    • External debt:
      $1.5 billion (July 1994 est.)

    • Industrial production:
      growth rate -19% (1994); accounts for about 40% of GDP (1992)

    • Electricity:

        7,010,000 kW

        31.4 billion kWh

        consumption per capita:
        3,010 kWh (1994)

    • Industries:
      employ about 40% of labor force and produced a wide variety of products

        including (in percent share of total output of former Soviet Union):
        tractors (12%); metal-cutting machine tools (11%); off-highway dump trucks up to 110-metric-ton load capacity (100%); wheel-type earthmovers for construction and mining (100%); eight-wheel-drive, high-flotation trucks with cargo capacity of 25 metric tons for use in tundra and roadless areas (100%); equipment for animal husbandry and livestock feeding (25%); motorcycles (21.3%); television sets (11%); chemical fibers (28%); fertilizer (18%); linen fabric (11%); wool fabric (7%); radios; refrigerators; and other consumer goods

    • Agriculture:
      accounts for almost 25% of GDP and 5.7% of total agricultural output of former Soviet Union; employs 21% of the labor force; in 1988 produced the following (in percent of total Soviet production): grain (3.6%), potatoes (12.2%), vegetables (3.0%), meat (6.0%), milk (7.0%); net exporter of meat, milk, eggs, flour, potatoes

    • Illicit drugs:
      illicit cultivator of opium poppy and cannabis; mostly for the domestic market; transshipment point for illicit drugs to Western Europe

    • Economic aid:

    • Currency:
      Belarusian rubel (BR)

    • Exchange rates:
      Belarusian rubels per US$1 - 10,600 (end December 1994)

    • Fiscal year:
      calendar year

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