Belarus’ CA deficit grows to 7.1% of GDP by end-February

Belarus’ CA gap equaled USD543m in January-February, corresponding to 7.1% of GDP, the central bank reported today. A year earlier, the gap had been narrower at USD363m, which corresponded to 5.3% of GDP, said the central bank. We recall that IFIs and rating agencies expect 4%-5% deficit this year.

Merchandise trade deficit equaled USD429m in January-February, as merchandise exports grew by 19.8%, and merchandise imports grew a bit faster by 21.9%. Merchandise exports to Russia in particular jumped 41.5%, while imports from Russia were up 30.6%, despite Russia cutting oil deliveries. The merchandise trade deficit was offset by a service trade surplus of USD485m. The primary income gap widened to USD676m in January-February from USD467m a year earlier. The secondary income or current transfer surplus was roughly flat y/y at USD78m

The balance on the financial account was negative at USD439m in January-February (5.7% of GDP), which means net borrowing, compared to minus USD381m a year earlier, according to the central bank. FDI inflows in particular more than doubled y/y to USD384m.

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