18 Sep 2009 14:06

Belarus GDP to rise 2%-3% in 2010

MINSK. Sept 18 (Interfax) - Belarusian GDP will rise 2%-3% in 2010, the Economics Ministry forecasts.

"Realistically growth of 2%, maximum 3%, is anticipated in 2010," Deputy Economics Minister Vladimir Adashkevich said.

The draft forecast of the nation's socioeconomic development in 2010 is currently in the discussion stage and remains variable. One issue being discussed is the forecast contained in the 2006-2010 program, which puts GDP growth in 2010 at 8%-9%.

As for 2009, Adashkevich said that "despite the 0.5% decline in GDP in the first eight months of the year, we anticipate a certain recovery trend, up to 100% of the 2008 level." That will be achieved by "a certain opening of external markets, particularly for Belarusian agricultural products, and favorable oil prices movements," he said.

Belarusian GDP rose 10% in constant prices in 2008. In 2009 President Alexander Lukashenko confirmed the growth forecast of 10%-12%. However, the IMF believes that GDP will contract 3% this year and rise just 2.3%-2.6% in 2010.

The Economics Minister forecasts inflation next year at 8%-10%.

Inflation in 2009 might total 11%, he said. "In September inflation is expected to amount to 0.4%-0.5%, including the increase in oil product prices. Inflation will average 0.4%-0.5% monthly for the rest of the year, which would lead to a total of 11% for the full year," he said.

Belarus had 13.3% inflation in 2008, an average monthly rate of 1.1%.

The government approved forecast for 2009 puts inflation at 9%-11%. The IMF expects Belarus to see inflation of 11.5% in 2009 and 6.8%-8% in 2010.