Belneftekhim is no longer pegging fuel prices to the dollar

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April 22, 2016 19:26

Amid the fall in oil prices on the world market and lower prices for petroleum products in Russia, Belneftekhim was prompted to abandon the peg of fuel prices to the dollar in Belarus. In September 2014, AI-92-K5-Euro fuel price was set at USD 1 per litre and was indexed depending on the BYR exchange rate, which lead to a decline in fuel sales by 20%. The price on the domestic market will become more flexible and fluctuations of the BYR exchange rate will not lead to higher retail prices at petrol stations. However, due to the tax manoeuvre in Russia, as of January 1st, 2016, fuel prices might go up in Belarus. If excise tax on fuel remains unchanged, the state will boost its efforts in fighting against non-centralized fuel supply by individuals; and if oil prices continue to fall on the world market, supplies may reduce fuel prices for their distribution networks inside Belarus. Excise duty on fuel is of the main sources of budget revenues and the authorities will not agree to peg fuel prices in Belarus directly to the export prices for petroleum products.

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Belarusian and Ukrainian Defence Ministries entangle in confrontation spiral
October 02, 2017 11:57
Фото: RFRM

Over the past year, military-political relations between Minsk and Kyiv have become complicated. Due to their high inertia and peculiarities, this downward trend would be extremely difficult to overcome.

The root cause of the crisis is the absence of a common political agenda in the Belarusian-Ukrainian relations. Minsk is looking for a market for Belarusian exports in Ukraine and offers its services as a negotiation platform for the settlement of the Russo-Ukrainian war, thereby hoping to avoid political issues in the dialogue with Kiev. Meanwhile, Ukraine is hoping for political support from Minsk in the confrontation with Moscow. In addition, Ukraine’s integration with NATO presupposes her common position with the Alliance in relation to Belarus. The NATO leadership regards the Belarusian Armed Forces as an integral part of the Russian military machine in the western strategic front (the Baltic states and Poland). In addition, the ongoing military reform in Ukraine envisages a reduction in the number of generals and the domestic political struggle makes some Ukrainian top military leaders targets in politically motivated attacks.

Hence, the criticism of Belarus coming from Ukrainian military leadership is dictated primarily by internal and external political considerations, as well as by the need to protect the interests of generals, and only then by facts.

For instance, initially, the Ukrainian military leadership made statements about 100,000 Russian servicemen allegedly taking part in the Russo-Belarusian military drill West-2017. Then the exercises were labelled quazi-open and military observers from Ukraine refused to provide their assessment, which caused a negative reaction in Minsk. Further, without citing specific facts, it was stated that Russia was building up its military presence in Belarus.

Apparently, the Belarusian and Ukrainian Defence Ministries have entangled in a confrontational spiral (on the level of rhetoric). Moreover, only a small part of the overly hidden process has been disclosed. That said, third states are very likely to take advantage of the situation (or have already done so). This is not only about Russia.

The Belarusian Defence Ministry officials are restrained in assessing their Ukrainian counterparts. However, such a restraint is not enough. Current military-political relations between Belarus and Ukraine are unlikely to stabilise without the intervention of both presidents.