25 Aug 2009 15:25

Belarusian foreign trade deficit expands 80% in H1

MINSK. Aug 25 (Interfax) - Belarus saw its foreign trade deficit grow 80% to $3.94 billion in the first half of 2009 compared to the same period of 2008, Viktor Mikhno, deputy chairman of the National Statistics Committee, said at a press conference in Minsk on Tuesday.

Belarusian exports declined 47.7% to $9 billion in the half, while the forecast for exports envisioned growth of 18.5%. Imports contracted 33.4% to $12.95 billion.

"On the whole, the results of the first half were poor. Belarus isn't the only country that has found itself in such a position. The global economic crisis has led to a reduction in the number of export operations and demand for Belarusian goods as a result," he said.

Average export and import prices have fallen sharply, he said. The average export price for oil has dropped 60%, on tires - 41.2% and on dairy products - 33.3%.

"The situation is undoubtedly difficult, but controllable," he said.

Belarus had a foreign trade deficit of $4.4 billion in 2008, while the forecast was for a deficit of $1.4 billion-$1.42 billion. In its forecast for 2009, the government had planned to lower the deficit to $1.47 billion-$1.5 billion.