Projected GDP growth rate is unattainable without oil re-export schemes
By the year-end, GDP growth rate will hardly surpass 2%. Projected GDP growth rate for 2013, 8.5%, is not feasible if there are no new major commodity export schemes.
Statistics Ministry released data on Belarus’ socio-economic development in January-November 2012.
During the first six months, GDP growth rate in Belarus was 2.9%. In January – November the growth rate dropped to 2%. The main reasons – suspended solvents and lubricants exports and reduced biodiesel supply, which negatively affected the chemical industry, oil refining and wholesale performance.
Approved GDP growth forecast for 2013 is 8.5%. The forecast is planned to be achieved via innovation economic policy and export growth. It is envisaged, that in each Belarusian regional center 10 new businesses will be set up. The situation with the wood-works modernization demonstrated the inability to set up new facilities in quantities that would significantly affect GDP growth in such a short period of time. Spheres, where significant export growth will be feasible, have not been named, and projected export growth rates have been set too high.
A significant challenge for GDP growth in 2013 is a high comparative base in 2012. In 2012 refining was loaded to its full capacity, which cannot be significantly improved due to uncompleted modernization. Schemes, used to export solvents and lubricants were important, but their resumption on a similar scale is unenforceable. Schemes’ foreign currency proceeds were substantial, contributing to GDP growth. The remaining Belarusian exports are already using maximum of their potential and there is nothing as significant to replace the solvents and lubricants export schemes.
Thus, to meet the high growth rates, Belarus needs new schemes, similar to the petroleum products re-export carried out in 2012. Otherwise, GDP growth will be limited to the 2012 values.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.