Belarus Economy - 2021


SOURCE: 2021 CIA WORLD FACTBOOK

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Economic overview

As part of the former Soviet Union, Belarus had a relatively well-developed industrial base, but it is now outdated, inefficient, and dependent on subsidized Russian energy and preferential access to Russian markets. The country’s agricultural base is largely dependent on government subsidies. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, an initial burst of economic reforms included privatization of state enterprises, creation of private property rights, and the acceptance of private entrepreneurship, but by 1994 the reform effort dissipated. About 80% of industry remains in state hands, and foreign investment has virtually disappeared. Several businesses have been renationalized. State-owned entities account for 70-75% of GDP, and state banks make up 75% of the banking sector.

Economic output declined for several years following the break-up of the Soviet Union, but revived in the mid-2000s. Belarus has only small reserves of crude oil and imports crude oil and natural gas from Russia at subsidized, below market, prices. Belarus derives export revenue by refining Russian crude and selling it at market prices. Russia and Belarus have had serious disagreements over prices and quantities for Russian energy. Beginning in early 2016, Russia claimed Belarus began accumulating debt – reaching $740 million by April 2017 – for paying below the agreed price for Russian natural gas and Russia cut back its export of crude oil as a result of the debt. In April 2017, Belarus agreed to pay its gas debt and Russia restored the flow of crude.

New non-Russian foreign investment has been limited in recent years, largely because of an unfavorable financial climate. In 2011, a financial crisis lead to a nearly three-fold devaluation of the Belarusian ruble. The Belarusian economy has continued to struggle under the weight of high external debt servicing payments and a trade deficit. In mid-December 2014, the devaluation of the Russian ruble triggered a near 40% devaluation of the Belarusian ruble.

Belarus’s economy stagnated between 2012 and 2016, widening productivity and income gaps between Belarus and neighboring countries. Budget revenues dropped because of falling global prices on key Belarusian export commodities. Since 2015, the Belarusian government has tightened its macro-economic policies, allowed more flexibility to its exchange rate, taken some steps towards price liberalization, and reduced subsidized government lending to state-owned enterprises. Belarus returned to modest growth in 2017, largely driven by improvement of external conditions and Belarus issued sovereign debt for the first time since 2011, which provided the country with badly-needed liquidity, and issued $600 million worth of Eurobonds in February 2018, predominantly to US and British investors.

Real GDP growth rate

1.22% (2019 est.)

3.17% (2018 est.)

2.53% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 165

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

5.6% (2019 est.)

4.8% (2018 est.)

6% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 190

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B (2018)

Moody's rating: B3 (2018)

Standard & Poors rating: B (2017)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$181.286 billion (2019 est.)

$179.098 billion (2018 est.)

$173.63 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 70

GDP (official exchange rate)

$63.168 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$19,150 (2019 est.)

$18,885 (2018 est.)

$18,280 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 94

Gross national saving

27.8% of GDP (2019 est.)

29.2% of GDP (2018 est.)

28% of GDP (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 48

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 8.1% (2017 est.)

industry: 40.8% (2017 est.)

services: 51.1% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 54.8% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 14.6% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 24.9% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 5.7% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 67% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -67% (2017 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 74.3 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 93.5 (2020)

Trading score: 96.5 (2020)

Enforcement score: 67.6 (2020)

Agricultural products

milk, potatoes, sugar beet, wheat, triticale, barley, maize, rye, rapeseed, poultry

Industries

metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, synthetic fibers, fertilizer, textiles, refrigerators, washing machines and other household appliances

Industrial production growth rate

5.6% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 47

Labor force

4.381 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 86

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 9.7%

industry: 23.4%

services: 66.8% (2015 est.)

Unemployment rate

0.8% (2017 est.)

1% (2016 est.)

note: official registered unemployed; large number of underemployed workers

country comparison to the world: 6

Population below poverty line

5% (2019 est.)

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

25.2 (2018 est.)

21.7 (1998)

country comparison to the world: 169

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.8%

highest 10%: 21.9% (2008)

Budget

revenues: 22.15 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 20.57 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

40.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 35

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

2.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 14

Public debt

53.4% of GDP (2017 est.)

53.5% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 90

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$931 million (2017 est.)

-$1.669 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 143

Exports

$28.65 billion (2017 est.)

$22.98 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 71

Exports - partners

Russia 42%, Ukraine 13%, United Kingdom 7% (2019)

Exports - commodities

refined petroleum, fertilizers, cheese, delivery trucks, crude petroleum (2019)

Imports

$31.58 billion (2017 est.)

$25.61 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 70

Imports - partners

Russia 57%, China 7%, Poland 5%, Germany 5%, Ukraine 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

crude petroleum, natural gas, cars and vehicle parts, packaged medicines, broadcasting equipment (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$7.315 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$4.927 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 84

Debt - external

$39.847 billion (2019 est.)

$39.297 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 76

Exchange rates

Belarusian rubles (BYB/BYR) per US dollar -

1.9 (2017 est.)

2 (2016 est.)

2 (2015 est.)

15,926 (2014 est.)

10,224.1 (2013 est.)

NOTE: The information regarding Belarus on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Belarus 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Belarus 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.