19 Sep 2023 16:33

Drivers for accelerating GDP growth in Belarus are industry, construction and trade - Economy Ministry

MINSK. Sept 19 (Interfax) - The key drivers for accelerating GDP growth in Belarus in January-August 2023 were growth in industrial production, an increase in construction volumes and retail trade turnover, Deputy Minister of the Economy Andrei Kartun said.

"From January through August, the GDP growth rate accelerated to 3.1%. This is +0.2 percentage points over seven months. Traditionally, the main drivers of GDP acceleration have been industry, construction and trade," Kartun said, as quoted by BelTA.

Industrial production increased 7.9% over eight months, he said. "The increase here was mainly due to mechanical and instrument making, the oil refining and chemical industries. High growth rates also remain in metallurgy, production of household appliances, food and in light industry," he said.

From January through August, total added value in construction increased 4.5%, Kartun said. "Construction, installation and contracting work is mainly increasing and the pace of housing construction has accelerated. Investment projects are being implemented, including as part of the modernization of existing enterprises," he said.

"Recovery dynamics continue in transport activities and the IT industry. Wood processing is also actively recovering. Production enterprises have been able to adapt and find new markets," he added.

Retail turnover increased 6% over the eight-month period, Kartun said.

The Deputy Minister also mentioned the continuation of a stable trend towards the restoration of investment activity. Thus, in from January through August, investments in fixed capital increased 10.4%. "Every month we record an acceleration in dynamics, which is ensured by the faster growth rates of investments in the active part of fixed assets. The growth rate in costs for the purchase of machinery, equipment, and vehicles accelerated from 22.8% in January-July to 25.7% in January- August. This indicates that a stable base is being created to maintain high rates of economic growth," he said.

As reported, Belstat said that Belarus' GDP growth from January through August accelerated to 3.1% from 2.9% from January through July, despite a decrease in agricultural production of 1.8% after an increase of more than 5% in the January-July period.

For 2023, the Belarusian authorities approved a target forecast with GDP growth of 3.8%. The Eurasian Development Bank expects economic growth in Belarus this year to reach 2.2%, the World Bank forecasts 0.6%, the IMF 0.7%, and the EBRD predicts a decline of 1%.

The country's GDP fell 4.7% in 2022 after increasing 2.3% in 2021.