Belarus’s GDP grew by 1.1% y/y in January-March, the statistics committee said today. Growth accelerated from 0.8% reported for January-February and 0.7% in January alone. Still the economy grew much slower than a year earlier. The government expects that it will grow by 2.1% this year. The IMF earlier this month revised its growth forecast downwards to 1.8% from the 3.1% forecast half a year earlier. Domestic trade is likely to be the main growth engine this year, on the back of growing real wages, although their growth slowed somewhat over December-February. Growth in industry has slowed considerably this year, partly because of slow growth in Russia, which is the main market.
The statistics committee’s breakdown shows that gross value added was up 1.3% y/y in January-March. Gross value added in the manufacturing industry, which is the backbone of the Belarusian economy, was up 1.4% y/y, faster than 0.8% growth reported for January-February earlier. Gross value added in the extractive sector grew by 1.8%, slower than in January-February. The figure for retail and wholesale trade was 3.5% in January-March, roughly the same as a month earlier. Construction jumped 5.9% y/y after decline in January-February. By contrast, gross value added in agriculture was down 1.0%. The regional breakdown shows that the economy grew in six provinces out of seven in January-February.