Belarus flag Belarus: Economic outline

Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

On February 24, 2022, Russia initiated a military conflict on the Ukrainian territory, dragging in Belarus as its ally facilitating the invasion of Ukraine, which profoundly upsets the current political context in these countries and will have substantial political and economic ramifications. For the ongoing updates on the developments of Russia-Ukraine conflict please consult the dedicated pages on BBC News.

Belarus is undergoing an economic transition, inheriting structural features from the former Soviet bloc. The country heavily relies on Russia, its largest trading partner, and to a lesser extent on Ukraine, whose economic and political situation has negatively influenced Belarus in recent years, particularly following the Russian invasion. Belarus traditionally procures gas and oil at reduced prices from Russia, and much of its growth stems from re-exporting Russian oil at market prices. Despite the growth of the private sector since the end of the Soviet bloc, it remains modest. Large subsidies to state-owned enterprises are unlikely to boost GDP growth in the short term, according to the World Bank. In 2022, Belarus's GDP decreased by 3.7% due to Western sanctions in response to its facilitation of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, leading to elevated inflation, supply-chain disruptions, limited household consumption, and hindered exports. However, according to the national statistical committee Belstat, Belarus's GDP grew 3.9% in 2023 to BYN 261.1 billion at constant prices. Nevertheless, the economy is projected to slow to 1.3% in 2024 and 0.6% in 2025 (IMF) due to persisting supply-side constraints, reduced employment, intricate supply chains, and limited technology access. Export prospects for 2024 appear dim due to anticipated declines in Russian GDP growth and diminishing price advantages in the Russian market, resulting from the Belarusian ruble's strengthening against the Russian ruble (Eurasian Development Bank).

Since the financial crisis in 2011, Belarus's economy has been influenced by significant internal and external imbalances, heavily supported by loans from Russia. Consequently, the economy is vulnerable to external shocks and fluctuations in Russia's economic performance. The debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 44.1% in 2023, up from 41.3% the previous year, and is expected to remain relatively stable, at 44.2% in 2024 and 43.3% in 2025 (IMF). Approximately one-third of the debt is held in foreign currencies, increasing risks associated with the depreciation of the Belarusian ruble. The government budget recorded a deficit of 0.2% of GDP in 2023 and is forecast to turn positive by 0.6% and 1.3% in 2024 and 2025, respectively. After peaking at the beginning of the year, average annual inflation was expected to be 4.7% in 2023 by the IMF, with a probable uptick to 5.7% this year.

Belarus exhibits relatively low levels of poverty and inequality, with a poverty rate of 4.8% according to the latest figures from the World Bank. However, the country faces uneven progress in transitioning to a market economy and democracy, and the current economic and political crisis threatens to increase poverty levels. The unemployment rate stood at 4% last year and is projected to decrease by 0.5 percentage points by 2025, according to the IMF.

 
Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 72.8468.8666.3366.6368.18
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -3.71.61.30.60.7
GDP per Capita (USD) 7,8697,4777,2387,3087,515
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -3.4-0.20.61.31.3
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 41.344.144.243.341.5
Inflation Rate (%) n/a4.75.74.25.0
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force) 4.24.03.63.53.5
Current Account (billions USD) 2.681.891.321.020.58
Current Account (in % of GDP) 3.72.72.01.50.8

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database, 2016

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Belarussian Rubble (BYR) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GHS 2,955.850.440.440.400.44

Source: World Bank, 2015

 

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Latest Update: April 2024