Oil duties raised
Belarus increased export duties on oil and oil products exported outside the Customs Union territory. This decision of the Council of Ministers of 19 April 2011 № 557 came into force on 1 May.
Export duty on petrol went up to USD 408 per tonne, or 90% of the oil duty replacing the recent 67%, the growth on remaining fuel oil and oil products is not that significant.
Belarus was forced to raise export duty rates on petroleum products following Russia. The latter used such measures to saturate the domestic market with petrol.
In these new circumstances export of petrol by Belarusian refineries becomes unprofitable, and given the high proportion of loss-making sales of petroleum products on the domestic market jeopardizes the profitability of Belarusian oil refining as a whole.
Therefore, refineries asked the government to revoke the binding obligatory sale of 30% of foreign currency earnings. Refineries refer to the difficult financial situation and losses in the first quarter, as a result of: 1. growing world oil prices, 2. changes of conditions for importers of Russian oil (oil price this year includes high rewards for Russian oil barons,) 3. lagging growth of export prices for petroleum products from the raw materials prices, 4. growing consumption of fuel at the domestic market, 5. the need to purchase the entire volume of oil with the shortage of currency to pay for it. It is unlikely that the request of the refineries will be met.
However, the main item of the Belarusian petroleum products export is diesel fuel (40%) and residual fuel (40%) rather than petrol (20%), this casts doubt on the apocalyptic threats by some analysts, in particular the Financial News Agency, which is close to the Russian oil companies. It is obvious that Russian oil companies would be interested in re-exporting petrol from the Belarusian oil refineries to Russia, however so far Belarusian refineries do not consider this option.
The country's leadership has instructed the local authorities to raise minimum wages at enterprises by the end of 2019 to BYN 1,000, which would lead to an increase in the average wage in the economy as a whole to BYN 1 500. The pace of wage growth in 2017 is insufficient to ensure payroll at BYN 1000 by late 2017 without manipulating statistical indicators. In order to fulfil the president’s order, the government would have to increase budgetary expenditures on wages in healthcare and education, enterprises – to carry out further layoffs and expand the practice of taking loans to pay wages and restrict investment in modernisation of fixed assets. In 2010, the artificial increase in wages led to a threefold devaluation in 2011, an increase in the average salary to BYN 1500 will not match the capabilities of the economy and would lead to yet another devaluation.