Real wages in national currency in 2016 may exceed 2015-level
According to the National Statistics Committee, gross salary in Belarus in July reached BYR 745.8 or 94.7% of that in July 2015. Real wages reduced due to high inflation rate and restricted wage growth in most economic sectors. In the coming months, wages are likely to grow smoothly, which should improve the retail sale situation. The population will be the net seller of foreign currency in order to preserve current consumption levels. Starting from August 2015, wages were falling, which created a low comparative base for 2016. Hence, real wages, adjusted for inflation, may exceed those in 2015 by October-November 2016.
According to the National Bank, in May 2017 consumer debt on consumer loans increased by BYN 136 million or 7.2% and exceeded BYN 2 billion, which was the maximum increase in debt over the past few years. The increase in demand for consumer loans has occurred after the requirement for a mandatory certificate of income was lifted, which simplified the procedure for obtaining a consumer loan. In the future, more banks are likely to issue loans without income certificates, the competition on the consumer lending market is likely to increase. Loans are likely to be issued in the form of instalments without paying the initial instalment and lower interest rates in the economy would reduce the instalment costs for businesses and reduce possible overpayments for consumers. The growth in wages stepped up retail turnover by 0.3% in H1 2017. Easier access to consumer lending could lead to an increase in unplanned purchases and boost retail turnover by 1-2 percentage points by the end of 2017.