Belarus/Economy

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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 re-imposed administrative controls over prices and currency exchange rates and expanded the state's right to intervene in the management of private enterprise. In addition to the burdens imposed by high inflation, businesses have been subject to pressure on the part of central and local governments, e.g., arbitrary changes in regulations, numerous rigorous inspections, and retroactive application of new business regulations prohibiting practices that had been legal. Further economic problems are two consecutive bad harvests, 1998-99, and persistent trade deficits. Close relations with Russia, possibly leading to reunion, color the pattern of economic developments. For the time being, Belarus remains self-isolated from the West and its open-market economies.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $55.2 billion (1999 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 1.5% (1999 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $5,300 (1999 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 23%
industry: 28%
services: 49% (1998 est.)

Population below poverty line: 22% (1995 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 4.9%
highest 10%: 19.4% (1993)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 295% (1999 est.)

Labor force: 4.3 million (1998)

Labor force - by occupation: industry and construction NA%, agriculture and forestry NA%, services NA%

Unemployment rate: 2.3% officially registered unemployed (December 1998); large number of underemployed workers

Budget:
revenues: $4 billion
expenditures: $4.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $180 million (1997 est.)

Industries: metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earth movers, motorcycles, TV sets, chemical fibers, fertilizer, textiles, radios, refrigerators

Industrial production growth rate: 8% (1999 est.)

Electricity - production: 21.893 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 99.89%
hydro: 0.11%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 28.66 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 2.3 billion kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 10.6 billion kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: grain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax; beef, milk

Exports: $6 billion (f.o.b., 1999)

Exports - commodities: machinery and equipment, chemicals, metals, textiles, foodstuffs

Exports - partners: Russia 66%, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Lithuania (1998)

Imports: $6.4 billion (c.i.f., 1999)

Imports - commodities: mineral products, machinery and equipment, metals, chemicals, foodstuffs

Imports - partners: Russia 54%, Ukraine, Germany, Poland, Lithuania (1998)

Debt - external: $1.1 billion (1998 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: $194.3 million (1995)

Currency: Belarusian rubel (BR)

Exchange rates: Belarusian rubels per US$1 - 730,000 (15 December 1999), 139,000 (25 January 1999), 46,080 (2nd qtr 1998), 25,964 (1997), 15,500 (yearend 1996), 11,500 (yearend 1995)

Fiscal year: calendar year