January GDP growth was due to refineries and production growth
In industry the highest production growth rate was within refinery - 173.2% increase compared with January 2011. However February figures will not be the same, because such increase was associated with a low base effect, namely in January 2011 within the conditions of the conflict around Russian oil supplies, the Belarusian oil industry was almost idle (there were no deliveries, refineries processed the remnants).
In January Belarus’ GDP increased by 3.6%. Industrial production rate was 106.6 %, retail turnover - 103%. Capital investment decreased by 11.4%
In January experts predicted decrease in the GDP growth, the government expected 2% increase, respectively, on the one hand, the 3.6% growth in GDP is very positive. On the other hand, it is not enough against the projected average of 5-5.5%.
Moreover, January stock supplies increased to Br 16021.6 billion or 7.2% of the industrial output. Therefore, industry as one of the major components of the GDP (32.4%) has actually saved January by increased supplies and oil refinery.
Accordingly, in February, one should expect a decline or minimal growth due to the continuation of the stocking up of warehouses. In February there will be no factors affecting the growth of retail or foreign trade. Most industries are unable to ensure 5% growth of the GDP without loans or other forms of state support.
President Lukashenko’s and the government’s reaction to the macro-statistics in February will be crucial. It will be a litmus paper regarding the algorithm of further actions of the authorities. Most likely, at a Governmental meeting or a meeting at the Presidential Administration in March an order to start ‘heating’ up of the economy with money printing will be made (to support housing, agriculture, etc.).
Last week, Belarusian Foreign Minister Makei participated in the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Eastern Partnership and Visegrad Group initiative hosted by Warsaw. The Belarusian FM emphasized Belarus' interest in cooperation in the transport sector, which could be due to Belarus’ desire to export electricity surplus after Belarus finished construction of the nuclear power plant in Ostrovets. Minsk expressed concerns about Warsaw’s stance on the Belarusian NPP, as it refused to buy electricity from Belarus and supported Vilnius’ protest on this issue. Following accusations by the Belarusian leadership and the state media against western states, including Poland, of training "nationalist militants", Minsk did not agree on the visit of the European Parliament deputies from Lithuania and Germany to Belarus and to the NPP construction site near Ostrovets in particular. In addition, the Belarusian authorities have stepped up efforts to enforce education in Russian in Polish-language schools in Grodno and Vaukavysk. Should a rift in Belarusian-Polish relations persist, the Belarusian authorities are likely to step up the pressure on the Polish-speaking minority in Belarus.