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.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.