Belarus

EDB investment portfolio

01/08/2018

26 projects

$989 million

14.1% of the total

EFSD investment portfolio

06/30/2017

2 projects

$4 560 million

82.1% of the total


Belarus became a full member of Eurasian Development Bank in June 2010. Its contribution to the Bank’s capital is US $15 million.

Trends

GDP

According to the country’s National Statistical Committee’s preliminary estimates, Belarus’s GDP increased by 5.1% YoY in 1Q 2018. Economic growth continues to accelerate (Belarus’s GDP increased by 4.3% YoY in 4Q 2017) which according to our estimates helped to close a negative output gap in 1Q 2018.

The following factors contributed to economic activity’s acceleration in 1Q 2018:

  • An increase in lending with prices staying at favorable levels, as well as a substantial increase in wages at the end of December 2017, which provided significant support to consumer demand. The increase in capital investments amounted to 21.8% YoY in 1Q 2018 and was due mainly to purchases of machines, equipment and vehicles.
  • An increase in oil supplies from Russia amid a low comparison base helped to increase exports in volume terms (by 13.7% YoY in 1Q 2018). Economic activity in 1Q 2018 was restrained by an increase in imported goods (by 14.4% YoY in volume terms) due to the quick recovery of domestic demand and high import capacity of the country’s economy.
  • According to National Statistical Committee data, Belarus’s GDP growth in 1Q 2018 was mainly attributed to manufacturing (some 2.4 p.p.) with its output increased by 9.4% YoY. A low previous year’s comparison base caused by the conflict with Russia over gas prices helped to increase the production of coke and oil products (by 20.1% YoY in 1Q 2018). Cold weather in March resulted in greater consumption of electricity, gas, steam, hot water and conditioned air (an increase of 7.5% YoY in 1Q 2018). Increased domestic demand and the attractive prices of goods made by Belarusian manufacturers provided support to other manufacturing sectors.

Positive trends in the country’s economy are confirmed by Belarus’ improved sovereign ratings assigned by international rating agencies. Fitch Ratings upgraded its rating to B from B- and Moody’s changed its rating from Caa1 to B3.

Belarus improved its position in the OECD’s Country Risk Classification, which will decrease the cost of debt for the country. Belarus moved from group 7 to group 6 in January 2018 in the OECD’s Country Risk Classification used by international financial institutions to price their loans. 

Inflation

12-mo inflation amounted to 5.4% in March, compared to 4.6% for 2017. This 1Q 2018 acceleration in inflation is due to both an increase in core inflation as well as in prices and tariffs regulated by the government. Core annual inflation increased from 2.5% in December 2017 to 3% in March 2018 due to a decline in the influence of inflationary expectations on domestic demand. Low inflation in countries which are key trading partners of Belarus, above all in Russia, is keeping a lid on the country’s core inflation. The 12-mo increase in prices and tariffs regulated by the government amounted to 9.7% in March 2018, compared to 8.1% in December 2017. The increase resulted from higher public utility tariffs, higher prices for fuel and tobacco products, as well as higher prices for education.

According to the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus, high inflationary expectations persist, and this creates additional inflationary risks if factors holding back prices weaken.

Exchange Rate

The quick recovery in economic activity supported the demand for foreign currency by businesses in 1Q 2018 (USD 385.3 million), given the country’s high import capacity. Amid an increase in household income, there was a decrease in net sales of foreign currency by households (USD 303.3 million in 1Q 2018, compared to USD 500.3 million in the same period a year earlier). If the current trend continues, the foreign currency market may be put under additional pressure.

The currency basket value calculated using average weighted exchange rates increased by 8.2% YoY in 1Q 2018 (a 1.3% QoQ increase) due to a weaker Belarusian ruble (BYN) against the RUB and EUR as they strengthened against the USD. The real effective exchange rate decreased by 4.4% YoY in 1Q.

According to the National Bank, the balance of trade was positive in 1Q 2018 and amounted to USD 315.2 million, or USD 86.6 million higher than in 1Q 2017. This surplus is attributed solely to exported services, while the trade deficit in goods increased due to imports outpacing exports.

As of April 1, 2018, Belarus’s foreign-exchange reserves amounted to USD 6,994.6 million, a decrease of USD 320.6 million YTD. The decrease in foreign-exchange reserves resulted from the repayment of loans in foreign currency by the National Bank in the amount of about USD 2.3 billion (of which USD 835.8 million was spent on redeeming eurobonds). In 1Q, Belarus’s foreign-exchange reserves were supported by eurobonds issued for USD 600 million and loans obtained from other external sources, as well as by an offering of government bonds denominated in foreign currency in the domestic market.

Fiscal Policy

There was a substantial increase in the budget surplus in 1Q 2018 to 4.8% of GDP, compared to 1.7% of GDP in the same period a year earlier. This increase was caused by the following key factors:

  • Significantly accelerated economic growth, which resulted in much higher indirect tax revenues (VAT and excise tax revenues increased by 25.6% and 11.2% YoY, respectively) and income and profit tax revenues (by 16.8% YoY).
  • Increased oil prices, which resulted in higher export revenues (a 46.8% YoY increase). The situation in the fiscal sector can help to reduce the amount of government debt that needs to be refinanced.

According to the Ministry of Finance, as of April 1, 2018, government debt amounted to 38% of GDP, down from 39.8% of GDP as of the beginning of this year. This decrease in 1Q 2018 is attributed to government debt repayments (the government’s external debt is down USD 0.3 billion YTD).

Monetary Policy

In January 2018, the National Bank decreased the refinancing rate by 0.5 p.p. to 10.5%. Amid inflationary pressure due to an increase in domestic demand and high inflationary expectations, the refinancing rate remained unchanged in March. We expect the refinancing rate to stay at its current level of 10.5% in 2Q.

An increase in the reserve requirements for banks’ deposit liabilities in foreign currency to 17.5% resulted in a considerable reduction of the liquidity surplus in the banking sector, which in turn led to an increase in the overnight interbank lending rate which serves as a benchmark for monetary policy (from 9.7% in December 2017 to 11.2% in March 2018).

A further increase in lending activity may bring about additional inflationary risks. The total amount of bank claims in rubles increased by 23.4% YoY in March 2018 (compared to an increase of 15.5% in December 2017). This growth is attributed to more loans provided to both corporate and individual borrowers.

06 August 2018
The net profits of the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) amounted to US $37.542 million in the first half of 2018, while the target fixed in the bank's strategy until 2022 for the whole year is at US $32 million
25 July 2018
The EDB announces the completion of the technical issue of 001P-01 bond of the nominal value of RUB 10 billion at the Moscow Stock Exchange under the programme (identification number 4-00002-L-001P-02E of 14 June 2018). The coupon rate is 7.60% per annum, the yield is 7.74%. The bond maturity is 1.5 years
19 July 2018
The Council of the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development (EFSD), based on the outcomes of voting by correspondence, has approved the EFSD Annual Report 2017. The EFSD Annual report includes information on the activities undertaken by the Eurasian Development Bank in its capacity of the EFSD Resources Manager and related to manging and administering the EFSD resources in 2017
17 July 2018
Andrey Beliyaninov, Chairman of the Management Board of the Eurasian Development Bank, will talk at the Financing the Real Sector of the Economy Business Forum to take place on 19 July in Moscow
16 July 2018
Applications are invited for enrolment to the International Eurasian Integration School 2018 titled The Eurasian Economic Union: Contouring the Future. The school has been launched by the Russian International Affairs Council, the Alexander Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund, the Eurasian Economic Commission, and the Eurasian Development Bank
25 June 2018
The Council of the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) approved the Bank’s new mid-term strategy for 2018-2022. The meeting was chaired by Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Chair of the EDB Council
04 June 2018
The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) opened a correspondent account for domestic payments in the Belarussian roubles with the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus. The Bank is also negotiating access to transactions at the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange
04 June 2018
The Eurasian Development Bank’s (EDB) delegation headed by Andrey Beliyaninov, Chairman of the Management Board, took part in the Third Annual Meeting of the New Development Bank (NDB) in Shanghai on 28-29 May
29 May 2018
In Q1 2018, multilateral development banks (MDB) approved finance for CIS investment projects for a total of US $2 billion, with sovereign finance accounting for 54% and the private sector 46%
17 May 2018
The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) has considerable potential, in terms of its contribution to integration in Eurasia, to consolidate integration ties both within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and in megaregional projects, such as the Belt and Road Initiative

Minsk Representative Office

Address:
70 Myasnikov St., office 310, Minsk, 220030, Republic of Belarus