Belarus may reduce sales of potash fertilizers in 2016 to USD 2 billion
In January 2016, Belarus produced 544000 tons of potash fertilizers, which is down by over one third compared with January 2015. Belarus’ potash fertilizer exports in January 2016 reduced by 1.8 times due to negative trends on the world potash market and a slump in potash prices down to USD 200 per tonne on some markets. Belarus is likely to reduce potash production due to lower demand from buyers - China, India and Brazil, which is likely to drop currency proceeds to USD 2 billion. The government will need additional funds to bridge the funding gap due to lower potash proceeds and Belarusian potash industry is likely to slow down. In addition, Belaruskali will have to continue to downsize its staff and reduce workers’ wages.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.