Belarus Economy

Is Belarus a rich country?

As part of the former Soviet Union, Belarus had a relatively well-developed industrial base, but it is now outdated, inefficient, and dependent on subsidized Russian energy and preferential access to Russian markets.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.

Belarus Economy Data

What is the GDP of Belarus?

Currency Name and Code Belarusian rubles (BYB/BYR)
GDP - Gross Domestic Product (PPP) $165,400,000,000 (USD)
GDP - official exchange rate $48,130,000,000 (USD)
GDP - real growth rate -3%
GDP Per Capita $17,500.00 (USD)
GDP by Sector- agriculture 9.2%
GDP by Sector- Industry 40.9%
GDP by Sector- services 49.8%
GDP - composition, by end use household consumption: 54.6%

government consumption: 15.8%

investment in fixed capital: 30.1%

investment in inventories: 2.6%

exports of goods and services: 57.2%

imports of goods and services: -60.3%
Population Below Poverty Line 6.3%
Inflation Rate 14%
Labor Force 4,546,000
Labor Force By Occupation- agriculture 9.3%
Labor Force By Occupation- industry 32.7%
Labor Force By Occupation- services 58%
Unemployment Rate 0.7%
Unemployment - note official registered unemployed; large number of underemployed workers
Fiscal Year calendar year
Annual Budget $21,210,000,000 (USD)
Budget Surplus or Deficit - percent of GDP 0.6%
Public Debt (% of GDP) 60.7%
Taxes and other revenues - percent of GDP 44.1%
Major Industries metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, televisions, synthetic fibers, fertilizer, textiles, radios, refrigerators
Industrial Growth Rate -3%
Agriculture Products grain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax; beef, milk
Exchange Rate per US Dollar 18500
Child Labor - % of children ages 5-14 5%
Child Labor - # of children ages 5-14 54,218
Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate 18%

Labor Force by Occupation- As reported by Belarus

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