Belarus reports 0.9% y/y industrial growth in January-March

By bne IntelliNews April 18, 2019

The stagnation in Belarus’s industry continued in March as the country put in the third month in a row of 0.9% industrial production growth.

Belarus' industrial output growth increased by 0.9% year-on-year in January-March  vs a 9.4% y/y growth comparing to the first quarter of 2018, according to the national statistics agency Belstat in a press release on April 18.

Specifically, industrial output in mining and quarrying increased by 1.7% y/y in January-March, in manufacturing by 1.8% y/y. At the same time, lectricity, gas, steam, hot water and air conditioning supply reported 4% y/y decline in the first quarter.

The Belarusian economy grew by 1.1% year-on-year in January-March following a 0.8% y/y growth in January-February, according to Belstat.

The economic outlook for Belarus has deteriorated sharply in recent months, partly due to an ongoing row with Russia over oil export duties -- known as Russia’s tax manoeuvre -- that could cost the Belarusian exchequer billions of dollars. Minsk is asking Moscow for compensation, but none has been forthcoming so far.

In April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) almost halved its estimate for Belarus’s growth this year to from 3.1% year-on-year to 1.8% y/y.

The move followed the World Bank's revision of the nation's GDP growth from 2.7% y/y to 2.2% y/y in 2019, from 2.5% y/y to 2.4% y/y in 2020 as well as from 2.5% y/y to 2.1% y/y in 2021. The World Bank said that the country's economic growth will depend on the results of Minsk's talks with Russia on compensation for tax manoeuvre in the oil sector.

Belarus' GDP grew by 3% y/y in 2018 after a 2.4% y/y expansion in 2017 after two years of recession. It contracted 3.9% y/y in 2015 following 1.6% y/y of growth in 2014.