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Belarus Economy 2008

Economy - overview: Belarus has seen little structural reform since 1995, when President LUKASHENKO launched the country on the path of "market socialism." In keeping with this policy, LUKASHENKO reimposed administrative controls over prices and currency exchange rates and expanded the state's right to intervene in the management of private enterprises. Since 2005, the government has re-nationalized a number of private companies. In addition, businesses have been subject to pressure by central and local governments, e.g., arbitrary changes in regulations, numerous rigorous inspections, retroactive application of new business regulations, and arrests of "disruptive" businessmen and factory owners. A wide range of redistributive policies has helped those at the bottom of the ladder; the Gini coefficient is among the lowest in the world. Because of these restrictive economic policies, Belarus has had trouble attracting foreign investment. Nevertheless, GDP growth has been strong in recent years, reaching nearly 7% in 2007, despite the roadblocks of a tough, centrally directed economy with a high, but decreasing, rate of inflation. Belarus receives heavily discounted oil and natural gas from Russia and much of Belarus' growth can be attributed to the re-export of Russian oil at market prices. Trade with Russia - by far its largest single trade partner - decreased in 2007, largely as a result of a change in the way the Value Added Tax (VAT) on trade was collected. Russia has introduced an export duty on oil shipped to Belarus, which will increase gradually through 2009, and a requirement that Belarusian duties on re-exported Russian oil be shared with Russia - 80% will go to Russia in 2008, and 85% in 2009. Russia also increased Belarusian natural gas prices from $47 per thousand cubic meters (tcm) to $100 per tcm in 2007, and plans to increase prices gradually to world levels by 2011. Russia's recent policy of bringing energy prices for Belarus to world market levels may result in a slowdown in economic growth in Belarus over the next few years. Some policy measures, including tightening of fiscal and monetary policies, improving energy efficiency, and diversifying exports, have been introduced, but external borrowing has been the main mechanism used to manage the growing pressures on the economy.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $103.5 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $44.77 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 8.2% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $10,600 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 8.7% industry: 40.6% services: 50.6% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 4.3 million (31 December 2005)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 14% industry: 34.7% services: 51.3% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate: 1.6% officially registered unemployed; large number of underemployed workers (2005)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3.4% highest 10%: 23.5% (2002)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 29.7 (2002)
Investment (gross fixed): 30.8% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $20.75 billion expenditures: $20.87 billion (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 8.4% (2007 est.)
Central bank discount rate: 10% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 8.58% (31 December 2007)
Stock of money: $4.065 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money: $6.823 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit: $12.16 billion (31 December 2007)
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
Industrial production growth rate: 5% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 29.91 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 30.43 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - exports: 5.789 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - imports: 10.15 billion kWh (2006 est.)
Oil - production: 33,700 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption: 179,700 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - exports: 256,400 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - imports: 394,100 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - proved reserves: 198 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)
Natural gas - production: 164 million cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 21.76 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 21.6 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 2.832 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)
Current account balance: -$2.876 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: $24.47 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: machinery and equipment, mineral products, chemicals, metals, textiles, foodstuffs
Exports - partners: Russia 36.5%, Netherlands 17.8%, UK 6.3%, Ukraine 6.1%, Poland 5%, Latvia 4.1% (2007)
Imports: $28.32 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: mineral products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, metals
Imports - partners: Russia 59.9%, Germany 7.6%, Ukraine 5.4% (2007)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $4.266 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external: $7.347 billion (31 December 2007)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Currency (code): Belarusian ruble (BYB/BYR)
Exchange rates: Belarusian rubles (BYB/BYR) per US dollar - 2,145 (2007), 2,144.6 (2006), 2,150 (2005), 2,160.26 (2004), 2,051.27 (2003)

NOTE: The economy information regarding Belarus on this page is re-published from the 2008 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Belarus Economy 2008 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Belarus Economy 2008 should be addressed to the CIA.