Market to determine the initial price of assets

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April 22, 2016 18:07

On March 29, the Government of Belarus issued a regulation No 285 legitimizing some requirements and approaches of Lukashenko to the sale of the state-owned assets, which essentially come down to maximization of profits from privatization.

Comment

The document contains several new and fundamentally important clauses. Firstly, new rules allow all joint stock companies to set the initial selling price of shares by their market, not book value. Previously, the initial price of shares was determined by the market only for banks and joint-stock companies owing land in Minsk and regional centers.

Secondly, it is regulated that the initial market price should be the highest. “The highest” implies that the authorities are preparing for numerous assessments of the market value of a given asset and want to protect their own assessments. That is, for instance, the Belarusian market value of an asset could be well above the market value as assessed by an international company and the initial selling price of shares will be tied to the highest assessment, even though it was not properly justified.

Thirdly, the regulation stipulates that the market price may not be below its par value. In other words, the Belarusian authorities refuse to apply special rules to companies with a number of nominal assets with low market value due to these assets being obsolete, unneeded, loss making or in debt, etc.

Fourthly, the new rules also require all companies to apply novelty of the past year – adjusting the initial price by price index for producers of industrial goods for technical and industrial purposes. That is, while defining the initial, highest, but not below par, price of a stock as of January 1st of the current fiscal period (or the first day of the month following the month of additional issue of shares), at the time of purchase (auction), the price should be increased in the future with adjustment for inflation.

 

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Growth in real wages may disrupt macroeconomic balance in Belarus
October 02, 2017 12:12
Фото: Дмитрий Брушко, TUT.BY

The rapid increase in wages has led to a decline in the ratio between labour productivity and real wages to one. Previously, the rule was that enterprises, in which the state owned more than 50% of shares in the founding capital, were not allowed increasing salaries if this ratio was equal to or less than one. The authorities are unlikely to be able to meet the wage growth requirement without long-term consequences for the economy. Hence, the government is likely to contain wage growth for the sake of economic growth.

According to Belstat, In January – August 2017, GDP growth was 1.6%. The economic revival has led to an increase in wages. In August, the average monthly wage was BYN 844.4 or USD 435, i.e. grew by 6.6% since early 2017, adjusted for inflation. This has reduced the ratio between labour productivity and real wages from 1.03 in January 2017 to 1 in the first seven months of 2017. This parameter should not be less than 1, otherwise, the economy starts accumulating imbalances.

The need for faster growth in labour productivity over wage growth was stated in Decree No 744 of July 31st, 2014. The decree enabled wages growth at state organizations and organizations with more than 50% of state-owned shares only if the ratio between growth in labour productivity and wages was higher than 1. Taking into account the state's share in the economy, this rule has had impact on most of the country's key enterprises. In 2013 -2014 wages grew rapidly, which resulted in devaluation in 2014-2015.

Faster wage growth as compared with growth in labour productivity carries a number of risks. Enterprises increase cost of wages, which subsequently leads to a decrease in the competitiveness of products on the domestic and foreign markets. In construction, wholesale, retail trade, and some other industries the growth rate of prime cost in 2017 outpaces the dynamics of revenue growth. This is likely to lead to a decrease in profits and a decrease in investments for further development. Amid wage growth, the population is likely to increase import consumption and reduce currency sales, which would reduce the National Bank's ability to repay foreign and domestic liabilities.

The Belarusian government is facing a dilemma – either to comply with the president’s requirement of a BYN 1000 monthly wage, which could lead to new economic imbalances and could further affect the national currency value, or to suspend the wage growth in order to retain the achieved economic results. That said, the first option bears a greater number of negative consequences for the nomenclature.

Overall, the rapid growth in wages no longer corresponds the pace of economic development. The government is likely to retain the economic growth and retrain further growth in wages. Staff reshuffles are unlikely to follow the failure to meet the wage growth requirement.

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