Revenues from potash fertilizer sales in 2017 could decrease compared to 2016
Belaruskali has projected to produce 10 million tons of potash fertilizers in 2017, of which up to 9.5 million tons will be exported. These volumes are comparable to those in 2016. In Q1 2017, the enterprise produced three million tons of fertilizers. Potash production is likely to gradually decrease and, hence the chemical industry would have a lesser impact on the industrial production index in Minsk Oblast and Belarus as a whole. The world potash market is unlikely to see price hikes. The growth in salaries in the Soligorsk region will be insignificant due to the need to replenish the budget due to the export duty on potash fertilizers and further investments by the enterprise in the new facility construction. Provided that, prices have slumped by more than 20% as compared with 2016, if export volumes do not increase, currency proceeds from potash sales could reduce by USD 300-350 million in comparison with 2016.
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.