Belarus' GDP grew by 4.4% year-on-year in January-July, following a 4.5% y/y growth in the first half of the year, and a 4.7% y/y growth in January-May, according to the national statistics agency Belstat.
The Belarusian economy is recovering well on the back of the ongoing recovery in neighbouring Russia, which saw 1.8% growth in the second quarter, the country's main trade partner. Belarus' GDP grew by 2.4% y/y in 2017 after two years of recession. It contracted 3.9% y/y in 2015 following 1.6% y/y growth in 2014.
In April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised upwards its GDP growth forecast for Belarus from 0.7% (October's forecast) y/y to 2.8% y/y.
Meanwhile, Fitch believes that could accelerate further to 3.5% y/y in 2018 supported by reduced external financing constraints, growth in Russia and other trading partners and strong domestic consumption and investment performance.
Fitch expects growth to moderate to 2.5% y/y and 2% y/y in 2019 and 2020. However, the nation's large public sector (estimated at 47% of GDP in 2017) with high leverage and productivity challenges weighs on medium-term growth prospects, which is a rating weakness.