Petroleum goods prices raised
As of 21 July the retail prices for petroleum products have been raised. Prices have increased by 3%. The “Belneftekhim” reported that “the revision of prices for petroleum goods is linked to gradual price adjustment within the Customs Union”.
At the same time “Belneftekhim” noted that “the current retail prices (subject to increase) remain below the level of prices in the Russian Federation by 2-8%.”
“the current retail prices (subject to increase) remain below the level of prices in the Russian Federation by 2-8%.”
While maneuvering between social (price) stability, and improvement of the financial state of the largest exporters, the authorities have chosen the latter.
The promise of the President of 8 June regarding unchanged petroleum prices in the coming quarter lasted just over a month.
Indirectly it confirms the sill critical state of the Belarusian economy. Moreover, increasing petrol prices by a symbolic amount the authorities make an attempt to test the loyalty of the public reaction (drivers are one of the most active part of the population). By hard-suppressing and preventing any kind of protests (an action “Stop: petrol” took place on the day the petroleum prices were increased) the authorities are preparing the population for future increases in prices and tariffs, which will affect the wealth of the average Belarusian to a greater extent than the increase of petrol price by 3%.
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.