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Press Release- Embassy of Belarus : 26 June 2020

June 24, 2020

 

Belarus registers 59,945 coronavirus cases, 357 deaths as of Jun 24, 2020

 

MINSK, Jun 24 – PrimePress. Belarus registered 59,945 confirmed coronavirus cases as of June 24, 2020, 362 people died, Belarus’ Health Ministry reports on its official Telegram channel.

 

40,136 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.

 

As reported, the number of registered coronavirus cases in Belarus reached 59,487 on the previous day; 357 patients died.

 

The Health Ministry reports 902,000 tests for the coronavirus infection as of June 24, 2020. End

 

 

IMF downgrades global GDP forecast for 2020 by 1.9 pp to minus 4.9%

 

MINSK, Jun 24 – PrimePress. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) downgraded the global GDP forecast for 2020 below the April 2020 World Economic Outlook (WEO) forecast to minus 4.9%, reads the Outlook Update published on June 24.

The IMF also downgraded the April outlook for global economic recovery in 2021 by 0.4 percentage points to 5.4%.

 

“Global growth is projected at –4.9 percent in 2020, 1.9 percentage points below the April 2020 World Economic Outlook (WEO) forecast. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a more negative impact on activity in the first half of 2020 than anticipated, and the recovery is projected to be more gradual than previously forecast. In 2021 global growth is projected at 5.4 percent,” the IMF says.

 

IMF experts downgraded the 2020 outlook with respect to all leading economies, including the United States – by 2.1 percentage points to minus 8% (by 0.2 pp to 4.5% in 2021) and the Eurozone – by 2.7 pp to minus 10.2% (upgrade by 1.3 pp to 6% in 2021). The outlook for China’s economic growth is downgraded by 0.2 percentage points to 1% in 2020 and by 1 pp to 8.2% in 2021.

 

According to the baseline scenario, the pandemic and the oil price collapse (the IMF predicts that in 2020, the average oil price will drop 41.1% and grow by 3.8% in 2021), Russia’s GDP is expected to fall in 2020 by 6.6% (5.5% in the April outlook). The recovery growth forecast for 2021 is upgraded by 0.6 percentage points to 4.1%.

 

The steep decline in activity comes with a catastrophic hit to the global labour market. Some countries have contained the fallout with effective short-term work schemes. Nonetheless, according to the International Labour Organization, the global decline in work hours in 2020:Q1 compared to 2019:Q4 was equivalent to the loss of 130 million full-time jobs. The decline in 2020:Q2 is likely to be equivalent to more than 300 million full-time jobs.

 

According to IMF estimates, the current decline in activity is the strongest since 1929, but it is far from being as severe as during the Great Depression, when the annual decline in the global economy was at 10% over three years. “Economic activity in those countries that weaken quarantine measures probably bottomed in April and began to recover.

 

The IMF considers it necessary to continue measures to combat the consequences of the pandemic, including significant fiscal and monetary stimulus. Many countries may require sustained external support in this regard.

 

“The international community should significantly increase support for national initiatives, including through financial assistance to countries with limited health potential, as well as through targeted funding for the production of a coronavirus vaccine if its trials are successfully completed,” the experts say.

 

As reported, the World Bank predicted in June a 5.2% decline in global GDP in 2020, Eurozone GDP – by 9.1%, the US – by 6.1%, Japan – by 6.1%, Russia – by 6%, and Poland – by 4.2%. The economy of China will grow in 2020 by only 1%. The decline in Belarus’ GDP in 2020 was affirmed at 4%. End

 

 

Belarus Labour Ministry sees increased loss of working hours since Apr 2020

 

MINSK, Jun 24 – PrimePress. Belarus sees an increased loss of working hours since April 2020, Minister of Labour and Social Protection Irina Kostevich said at the session of the Council of Ministers Presidium held June 23, the government’s press office reports.

 

According to Kostevich, the president instructed to monitor the compliance with employment and labour when it comes to layoffs. Recent data indicate the absence of massive gross violations. However, there has been an increase in the loss of working hours since April.

 

The number of employees working part-time, those on forced leave and staying idle increased in May 2020 from May 2019. “This is a forced response of employers to the breakdown of supply and production chains caused by the pandemic. Such employment regimes allow saving jobs, albeit with a certain decrease in earnings,” said the minister.

 

Partial compensation for lost incomes is provided for by presidential decree No.178, Kostevich said. Forty-four organizations have applied for subsidies to pay their employees. Applications of 14 organizations have been satisfied. Five organizations have been denied subsidies.

 

As reported, decree No.178 of May 28, 2020 envisages subsidies to employers to maintain at least the minimum wage of Br375 ($158.28 at the rate of the National Bank of Belarus) in the event of forced underemployment or downtime from May 1 to July 31, 2020 amid the pandemic. The Ministry of Finance will allocate Br180 million ($75.975 million) to the state extra-budgetary Social Protection Fund for such subsidies. End (Br2.3692/$1)

 

 

49.7% of Belarusians feel decline in earnings in Jun 2020 – survey

 

MINSK, Jun 24 – PrimePress. According to a joint opinion poll on the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic conducted by Satio and Beroc researchers on June 8-15, 2020, 49.7% of Belarusians felt a decline in their earnings in June.

 

The decline in incomes has stabilized: 49.7% of the respondents felt a decline in their incomes in June 2020 (compared with 45% in March, 52% in April and 48% in May); 55% said their earnings decreased compared with the pre-pandemic period,” reads the report.

 

This was due, as before, to a decrease in the number of orders placed (34% of those whose incomes dropped, particularly typical of the service sector in Minsk), nonpayment of bonuses (26%), and wage cuts (25%).

 

Belarusians continue to experience a reduction in working hours (20% in June against 25% in May) and unpaid furloughs (19% in June against 20% in May). This is the main cause of the income decline in small towns. 7% of those whose incomes dropped report backdated wages.

 

Negative expectations for the next two weeks persist, although they showed an inconsiderable improvement compared with expectations in May. The respondents were slightly more optimistic about the epidemic developments: 52% expect the situation to worsen in June to compare with 66% in May. Despite a deflation and the strengthening of the national currency in May and early June, only 19% and 15% expect this in the future. End

 

 

Belarus’ average wage up 2.9% in May 2020 to Br1,227.9

 

MINSK, Jun 24 – PrimePress. Belarus’ average wage in nominal terms stood at 1,227.9 Belarusian rubles (Br) in May 2020, or U.S. $518.28 at the monthly average rate of the National Bank, up 2.9% month on month, the National Statistics Committee (Belstat) said in a report.

 

In real terms (adjusted for the increase in consumer prices), the average monthly wage grew by 8.7% year on year in May 2020.

 

Regionally, Minsk led in May with the average wage of Вr1,771 ($747.5), up 2.9% month on month. Minsk Oblast reported Br1,230.1 ($519.2) up 6.1%; Gomel Oblast Br1,070.4 ($451.8), up 1.8%; Mogilev Oblast – Br993.4 ($419.3), up 2.6%; Vitebsk Oblast – Br1,048.6 ($442.6), up 2%; Brest Oblast – Br1,028.7 ($434.2) up 2%; Grodno Oblast – Br1,030.9 ($435.1), up 1%.

 

In May 2020, the average wage in manufacturing industries stood at Br1,224.3 ($516.8), up 1.2% month on month; construction – Br1,343.4 ($567), up 2.4%; forestry, fishery and agriculture – Br898 ($379), up 1.6%; retail trade – Br977.6 ($412.6), up 0.7%; education – Br879.5  ($371.2) up 6.2%; healthcare – Br1,213.3 ($512.1), up 14.8%.

 

To compare, the average monthly wage in Belarus’ IT industry in May 2020 stood at Br5,668.3 ($2,393), up 14.2% month on month; banking and finance – Br1,863.6 ($786.6), down 7.6%. End (Br2.3692/$1)

 

 

Belarusbank, Roseximbank sign framework agreement to stimulate imports of Russian commodities into Belarus

 

MINSK, Jun 24 – PrimePress. ASB Belarusbank and the State Specialized Russian Export-Import Bank (Roseximbank JSC) signed a framework loan agreement aimed at stimulating imports of Russian commodities into Belarus, Belarusbank reports.

 

“This is a new stage of cooperation between our banks, which gives opportunities for supporting joint foreign economic projects. In the long term, this agreement will increase Russia’s exports to Belarus,” says Roseximbank Deputy Chairman of the Board Roman Smagin.

 

Currently, Belarusbank and Roseximbank (members of the Russian Export Centre Group) are jointly financing a number of investment projects, including the construction of the Miory metal rolling plant (€360 million) in a consortium with the German AKA export finance bank and Russian VTB Bank PJSC.

 

As reported, in late April 2020, the Russian Export Centre and the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) signed a memorandum on launching a joint credit program that provides soft loans for the export of Russian goods and services to EDB member states (Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) under investment projects in the areas of infrastructure, energy, engineering, chemical and petrochemical industries, agriculture and information technologies. The Centre also provides insurance support to investors and creditors.

 

The State Specialized Russian Export-Import Bank (Roseximbank JSC) was established in 1994 in pursuance of state policy of stimulating and supporting exports of engineering products. The bank has been operating through the Russian Export Centre since 2015.

 

Belarusbank, Belarus’ largest bank, was founded in July 1991, and was transformed in October 1995 through a merger with Sberbank of Belarus. The state holds the 99.95% share in the authorized capital of the bank.

 

The Russian Export Centre is a state-owned non-oil and gas export support institution, part of the VEB.RF state-owned development corporation. The Russian Agency for Export Credit and Investment Insurance (EXIAR) and Russian Export-Import Bank (Roseximbank) are also integrated into the group. In 2018, support for Russia’s exports totalled $19 billion, joint trade operations with Belarus – $1.33 billion. Joint trade operations have been funded in the amount of $5.5 billion. End

 

 

NBB holds deposit auction Jun 24, 2020

 

MINSK, Jun 24 – PrimePress. The National Bank of Belarus (NBB) conducted on June 24, 2020 deposit auction No.384 worth Br450 million ($189.9m at the official rate) in the form of an interest rate auction for a 7-day period, the NBB said in a press-release.

 

The auction accepted 17 bids from 9 banks offering interest rates within the range between 7.65% and 7.8% per annum worth a total of Br913.5 million ($385.6m).

 

The weighted average interest rate was set at 7.67% per annum. 6 bids of 5 participants were satisfied. End (Br2.3692/$1)

 

 

Wednesday forex session: ruble down 0.14% against dollar to Br2.3726/$1

 

MINSK, Jun 24 – PrimePress. Following the bidding at the single forex session of the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange (BCSE) in the format of a continuous two-way auction, the Belarusian ruble stood at Br2.3726/$1 to the dollar on Jun 24, down 0.14% on the previous day of trading, says the BCSE official report.

 

Following the bidding at the single forex session on Wednesday, the ruble stood at Br2.6805/€1 to the euro, down 0.19%; at Br3.4407/RUB100 to the Russian ruble, up 0.14%.

 

As previously reported, the National Bank of Belarus (NBB) on June 1, 2015 stopped the practice of fixing the exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble to the basket of foreign currencies on a day-to-day basis and switched over to FX trading on the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange (BCSE) in the format of a continuous two-way auction.

 

The parties taking part in continuous two-way auctions at the BCSE are free to make bids and offers during the entire auction period, however deals will be made if the FX trading system bridges bids with relevant offers.

 

The weighted average rate of the US dollar, the euro and the Russian ruble shall be the National Bank’s official exchange rate of the relevant currency for the day that follows the day of trading.

 

At the moment, the exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble is pegged to the basket of foreign currencies, with the share of the Russian ruble standing at 50%, the US dollar – 30%, the euro – 20%. End

 

 

SOCAR to send another batch of Azerbaijani oil to Belarus before Jul 2020

 

MINSK, Jun 24 – PrimePress. The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) plans to send another batch of Azerbaijani oil in the amount of 85-90 thousand tonnes to Belarus by the end of June 2020. The oil is expected to be delivered to the Mozyr Oil Refinery OJSC (Gomel Oblast) on July 10-15, says Alexander Tishchenko, Spokesman for the state petrochemical concern Belneftekhim.

 

This batch is on Belneftekhim’s supply schedule. The oil will be delivered to Odessa (Ukraine) by the end of June.

 

Tishchenko says Belneftekhim continues diversifying oil supplies to Belarus, looking at sources alternative to Russia.

 

As reported, Socar Trading (SOCAR subsidiary) delivered four batches of oil to the Mozyr Oil Refinery in January-April 2020, around 335,000 tonnes in total, including three in March (250,000 tonnes) and one in April (85,000 tonnes) via Odessa through the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline.

 

Belneftekhim said earlier that SOCAR would supply up to 1 million tonnes of oil to Belarus in 2020.

 

Belarus has been diversifying oil supplies to its refineries (Mozyr Oil Refinery, Gomel Oblast, and Naftan OJSC, Novopolotsk, Vitebsk Oblast) after Russia cut supplies in January-March 2020 due to price disagreements with Russian large oil companies. During that period, the refineries processed 2.9 million tonnes of oil instead of planned 5.9 million. In 2020, Belarus purchased oil from Azerbaijan, Norway, Saudi Arabia and the United States via Klaipeda (Lithuania) and Odessa (Ukraine). End

 

 

Belarus’ potash fertilizers export down 14.1% in Jan-Apr 2020 to 1.888m tonnes

 

MINSK, Jun 24 – PrimePress. Belarus reduced the export of potash fertilizers in January-April 2020 by 14.1% year on year to 1.888 million tonnes in terms of 100% nutrient content, reads the official statistical report.

 

In value terms, the export decreased by 28.4% in Jan-Apr 2020 (by $283.9 million) to $715.134 million.

 

The decrease was due to the unfavourable environment on the global potash market since mid-2019.

 

Belaruskali OJSC (Soligorsk, Minsk Oblast) had to reduce output and only utilize nearly 30% of its capacities from September 2019 to April 2020 due to demand/supply imbalances that resulted in falling prices of potash fertilizers.

 

Besides, negotiations of the Belarusian Potash Company (Belaruskali trader) with major importers (China and India) on new long-term contracts were complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The BPC managed to enter into a contract with China as late as the end of April 2020 on supplies at $220 per tonne ($70 below the previous contract price) and with India on May 18, 2020 at $230 per tonne ($50 below the previous price).

 

As reported, Belarus reduced the export of potash fertilizers in 2019 by 5.8% year on year to 6.23 million tonnes in terms of 100% nutrient content. In value terms, the export increased in 2019 by 2.3% yoy to $2.78 billion. The average export price of Belarusian potash fertilizers in 2019 stood at $445.8 per tonne (up 11.3% from 2018). End

 

 

Belarus raises some cigarette prices by 1.3-4.3% Jul 1, 2020

 

MINSK, Jun 24 – PrimePress. Belarus manufacturers and importers will raise maximum retail prices of some brands of cigarettes on July 1, 2020 by 1.3% to 4.3%, according to the data of excise tax payers posted on the website of the Tax Ministry of Belarus.

 

Prices of some sorts of Kent cigarettes will increase by 2.9-3% to Br3.4-3.55 ($1.43-1.5 at the rate of the National Bank of Belarus) per pack; some sorts of Pall Mall Demi cigarettes – by 2.2-4.3% to Br2.35-2.4 ($0.99-1.01); Vogue cigarettes – by 1.3% to Br4 ($1.69); Winston Super Slims Blue and Winston Super Slims Silver cigarettes – by 1.4% to Br3.6 ($1.52); some sorts of Sobranie cigarettes – by 1.3-1.5% to Br3.45-3.8 ($1.46-1.6).

 

Also, prices of cigarettes that will be available from July 2020 will change: Winston Compact Special Blue – Br2.89 ($1.22), Winston Compact Dream Mix – Br2.8 ($1.18).

 

Cigarette prices were announced by three manufacturers–GTF Neman OJSC, Tabak Invest LLC and Inter Tobacco LLC–and two importers–Belarustorg state-owned enterprise and Energo Oil CJSC. Prices were raised by GTF Neman OJSC, Tabak Invest LLC and Belarustorg.

 

As reported, Belarus raised prices of some sorts of cigarettes on June 1, 2020 by 1.3-8.3%. End (Br2.3692/$1)

 

 

NBB’s currency rates as of Jun 25, 2020

 

MINSK, Jun 24 – PrimePress. The National Bank of Belarus (NBB) set on Jun 24, 2020 the following exchange rates of the Belarusian ruble (Br) against foreign currencies for Jun 25, 2020.

 

  Currency   Br
1 AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR AUD 1.6414
1 BULGARIAN LEV BGN 1.3712
100 UKRANIAN HRYVNA UAH 8.8995
10 DANISH KRONE DKK 3.5985
1 U.S. DOLLAR USD 2.3726
1 EURO EUR 2.6805
10 POLISH ZŁOTY PLN 6.0283
10,0000 IRANIAN RIAL IRR 5.6490
100 ICELAND KRONA ISK 1.7125
100 JAPANESE YEN JPY 2.2277
1 CANADIAN DOLLAR CAD 1.7489
10 CHINESE YUAN CNY 3.3545
1 KUWAITI DINAR KWD 7.7115
10 Moldovan Leu MDL 1.3675
1 New Zealand Dollar NZD 1.5271
10 NORWEGIAN KRONE NOK 2.4835
100 RUSSIAN RUBLE RUB 3.4407
1 SDR (Special Drawing Rights) XDR 3.2778
1 SINGAPORE DOLLAR SGD 1.7086
100 KIRGHIZ SOM KGS 3.1628
1,000 KAZAKH TENGE KZT 5.9019
10 TURKISH LIRAS TRY 3.4601
1 BRITISH POUND STERLING GBP 2.9682
100 CZECH KORUNA CZK 10.0415
10 SWEDISH KRONA SEK 2.5480
1 SWISS FRANK CHF 2.5116

 

 

June 23, 2020

 

Belarus registers 59,487 coronavirus cases, 357 deaths as of Jun 23, 2020

 

MINSK, Jun 23 – PrimePress. Belarus registered 59,487 confirmed coronavirus cases as of June 23, 2020, 357 people died, Belarus’ Health Ministry reports on its official Telegram channel.

 

38,688 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.

 

As reported, the number of registered coronavirus cases in Belarus reached 59,023 on the previous day; 351 patients died.

 

The Health Ministry reports 886,000 tests for the coronavirus infection as of June 23, 2020. End

 

 

Astravyets nuke plant to be of no benefit for Belarus for 15-20 years – Tsepkalo

 

MINSK, Jun 23 – PrimePress. Belarus will have no benefit from its nuclear power plant (Astravyets District, Grodno Oblast) for 15-20 years, presidential aspirant, former head of the High-Tech Park Valery Tsepkalo told Russian RIA Novosti news agency.

 

Tsepkalo is critical of the NPP construction aimed at diversifying energy sources. “Why didn’t we take the path of upgrading the existing thermal power plants and making the energy more efficient? Now we import technology and raw materials, and will store and process spent fuel. There is nothing of our own in it, and we will have to pay for everything. We cannot provide relevant education, because it requires huge money, time and effort. It will be quite expensive electricity. We must pay off the Russian loan, and even if we exported electricity at good prices, although we see Lithuania’s countermeasures, Belarus will not have any benefit from the plant for the next 15-20 years,” he said.

 

Tsepkalo said Belarus cannot shut the NPP down without repaying the loan to Russia. “A government just cannot renounce earlier obligations inherited from the previous government. If the European Union gave us money to pay Russia, we could close the plant and make it a nuclear energy museum,” he said.

 

According to Tsepkalo, as an EU member, Lithuania could apply to the European Commission and the most concerned member states to raise funds for closing the NPP and pay off the loan to Russia.

 

As reported, the presidential election in Belarus is scheduled for August 9, 2020. Having collected the required number of signature, seven persons, including Tsepkalo continue their campaigns.

 

Belarus’ first nuclear power plant in Ostrovets (a town in the Grodno Region also referred to as Astravyets) will have two units with a combined capacity of up to 2,400 megawatts, which are slated to be launched in 2019 and 2020, respectively. The Belarusian nuclear station’s design stems from the AES-2006 design developed by the St Petersburg-based institute Atomenergoproject, which is also the general contractor of the Belarusian project.

 

Lithuania took a firm stance against the Belarusian NPP at the very inception of the project. Its parliament officially declared the power plant a threat to Lithuania’s national security. Lithuania now spares no efforts to prevent the import of energy that will be generated by the NPP into the EU. End

 

 

Different structures of economies pose barrier to Belarus-Russia single currency launch – Tsepkalo

 

MINSK, Jun 23 – PrimePress. The different structures of the national economies of Belarus and Russia pose a barrier to the single currency launch, presidential aspirant, former head of the High-Tech Park Valery Tsepkalo told Russian RIA Novosti news agency.

 

“Belarus does not want the Russian ruble [as a single currency]. Russia does not want the Belarusian ruble in this capacity. Neither party considers any currency other than the Russian or the Belarusian ruble to be a single currency. Besides, the national economies are structured differently. Belarus is seeking low prices for energy commodities, metals, etc., whereas Russia is objectively interested in setting higher prices,” Tsepkalo said.

 

He said “these prices are determined by the external environment.” “Apparently, an upsurge in prices for energy commodities and other raw materials would pull the Russian ruble up, and bring the Belarusian ruble down, and vice versa. What would happen if they are pegged to each other? How the countries are supposed to balance with a single currency and different economic structures?” said Tsepkalo.

 

“It was a different era when all this was prescribed by the Treaty. And, by the way, the energy prices were low. In that scenario, the cost of energy commodities and base raw materials did not matter at all. The marginality was minimal. It was impossible to make money on that. It [the single currency] was, probably, possible at that time, while today, when this [raw material prices] is an essential factor for the Russian and Belarusian economies, I think this is a key obstacle to an efficient single currency,” Tsepkalo said. End

 

 

IBRD to lend €100m to Belarus’ Education Ministry for tertiary education modernization

 

MINSK, Jun 23 – PrimePress. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) will lend €100 million to the Ministry of Education of Belarus for modernization of the higher education system. The parties signed the agreement online on June 23, the ministry reports.

 

The funds will be used to create and upgrade the educational environment in 18 universities, including 10 regional ones.

 

Among other things, the agreement provides for the establishment of an interdisciplinary training and research centre at the Belarusian State University with 37 educational laboratories, 9 centres for collective use, an upgrade of more than 60 educational research laboratories, and repair of some campus buildings.

 

The agreement also envisages the establishment of the National Agency for Ensuring Quality Education (at all levels of education), introduction of new branches of study (bioengineering, nanochemistry, synthetic and systems biology, bioinformatics, biomechanics, etc.), and create opportunities for online learning.

 

The IBRD is the main lending institution of the World Bank (WB). Cooperation between Belarus and the WB is currently based on the WB Group Partnership Strategy for 2018-2022, adopted in 2018. According to the Ministry of Economy of Belarus, over the entire period of cooperation from 1992 to 2019, WB’s total investment in the Belarusian economy amounted to over $1.7 billion. Currently, the WB investment portfolio in Belarus includes eight projects totalling $843.41 million. End

 

 

Belarus to sign new agreements on leasing and loan incentivization for commodity supplies to Russia, Ukraine, Moldova

 

MINSK, Jun 23 – PrimePress. The government of Belarus will sign agreements on leasing terms for supplies of Belarusian commodities with Russian A-Leasing LLC, Transport Leasing Company LLC, Tyazhpromleasing LLC, Chelyabinsk Industrial Leasing Company LLC and Ukrainian Alpha Leasing Ukraine LLC (Council of Ministers’ resolution No.355 of June 19, 2020 posted on the government’s website.

 

The resolution also approves the draft agreement with Moldovan Banca de Finanţe şi Comerţ SA on the terms for issuing loans for the purchase of Belarusian goods by Moldova.

 

The agent banks for fulfilling the terms are BelVEB Bank OJSC under the agreements with A-Leasing OJSC and Alfa-Leasing Ukraine LLC, BPS-Sberbank OJSC under the agreement with Transport Leasing Company LLC, VTB Bank CJSC (Belarus) under the agreements with Tyazhpromleasing LLC and Chelyabinsk Industrial Leasing Company LLC, Belarusbank JSB under the agreement with Banca de Finanţe şi Comerţ SA. Banks’ fees are set at or below 0.02% of the amount subject to refunding by the Republic of Belarus from the republican budget.

 

Similar agreements had been previously signed with a number of foreign leasing companies and banks. Belarus provides a refund to foreign buyers from the national on a part of leasing payments under leasing agreements, a part of interest on loans, and a part of fees for post-financing letters of credit. The government approves the list of manufacturers and commodities subject to preferential treatment. End

 

 

Tuesday forex session: ruble up 0.24% against dollar to Br2.3692/$1

 

MINSK, Jun 23 – PrimePress. Following the bidding at the single forex session of the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange (BCSE) in the format of a continuous two-way auction, the Belarusian ruble stood at Br2.3692/$1 to the dollar on Jun 23, up 0.24% on the previous day of trading, says the BCSE official report.

 

Following the bidding at the single forex session on Tuesday, the ruble stood at Br2.6754/€1 to the euro, down 0.52%; at Br3.4454/RUB100 to the Russian ruble, down 0.74%.

 

As previously reported, the National Bank of Belarus (NBB) on June 1, 2015 stopped the practice of fixing the exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble to the basket of foreign currencies on a day-to-day basis and switched over to FX trading on the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange (BCSE) in the format of a continuous two-way auction.

 

The parties taking part in continuous two-way auctions at the BCSE are free to make bids and offers during the entire auction period, however deals will be made if the FX trading system bridges bids with relevant offers.

 

The weighted average rate of the US dollar, the euro and the Russian ruble shall be the National Bank’s official exchange rate of the relevant currency for the day that follows the day of trading.

 

At the moment, the exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble is pegged to the basket of foreign currencies, with the share of the Russian ruble standing at 50%, the US dollar – 30%, the euro – 20%. End

 

 

Belarus to purchase 1.58m tonnes of oil from Russia in Jul 2020, the rest to come from alternative suppliers

 

MINSK, Jun 23 – PrimePress. Belarus plans to purchase 1.58 million tonnes of crude oil from Russian oil companies in July 2020. The rest of 2 million tonnes needed to utilize the capacities of the Belarusian refineries (Mozyr Oil Refinery OJSC, Gomel Oblast, and Naftan OJSC, Novopolotsk, Vitebsk Oblast) in full is expected to be delivered in sea tankers from alternative suppliers, says Alexander Tishchenko, Spokesman for Belarusian state petrochemical concern Belneftekhim.

 

“The Belarus-Russia supply plan for 2020 provides for 1.58 million tonnes from Russian oil companies in July: 1.495 million tonnes through the oil pipeline and 85,000 tonnes by rail,” Tishchenko saysts.

 

Belarus is currently diversifying oil supplies to its two refineries amid periodic price disagreements with its main and traditional supplier, Russia. Continuing to purchase Russian oil with supplies via the Druzhba trunk oil pipeline and by rail, Belarus also works with alternative routes for transporting crude to the refineries. Oil is delivered by sea via the ports of Klaipeda and Odessa. This year, Belarus purchased oil from Azerbaijan, Norway, Saudi Arabia and the United States. End

 

 

Belarus reduces Russian gas import in Jan-Apr 2020 by 10.4% to 6.669bn cubic metres

 

MINSK, Jun 23 – PrimePress. Belarus reduced the import of Russian gas in January-April 2020 by 10.4% year on year to 6.669 billion cubic metres, reads the official statistical report.

 

In monetary terms, Belarus reduced the import of Russian gas in Jan-Apr 2020 by 10.3% year on year to $868.183 million.

 

The average price of Russian gas imported by Belarus in Jan-Apr 2020 was up 0.1% year on year to $130 per 1,000 cubic metres.

 

As reported, Belarus annually imports around 20 billion cubic metres of gas from the Russian Federation. The price for 2020 agreed on in February 2020 stands at $127 per 1,000 cubic metres. The statistically higher price than that indicated in the contract ($130 against $127) is likely due to the increased calorific value of the supplied gas, as Russian Gazprom said. Belarus does not agree that the calorific value of gas has increased, and pays the price that it set unilaterally. According to Gazprom’s estimates, this resulted in the accumulated debt of $165.6 million as of early June 2020. End

 

 

Belarus reduces diesel fuel supplies to Ukraine in Jan-May by 29% to 603,000 tonnes

 

MINSK, Jun 23 – PrimePress. State oil exporter Belarusian Oil Company CJSC (BelOil) reduced diesel fuel supplies to Ukraine in January-May 2020 by 29% year on year to 603,000 tonnes, says Ukrainian Consulting Group A-95.

 

Diesel fuel is the major item in Belarus’ exports of oil products to Ukraine. Supplies in 2020 decreased because the Belarusian refineries (Mozyr Oil Refinery OJSC, Gomel Oblast, and Naftan OJSC, Novopolotsk, Vitebsk Oblast) significantly reduced the processing of oil in the first half of the year due to a reduction in Russian oil supplies.

 

The Ukrainian diesel fuel market showed 3.4% year-on-year growth in January-May 2020 to 2.71 million tonnes. The import of diesel fuel into Ukraine increased in January-May 2020 by 0.5% year on year to 2.32 million tonnes.

 

In 2019, the average monthly supply of Belarusian diesel fuel to Ukraine exceeded 200,000 tonnes (300,000 during the peak season of August-September). The average monthly supply of Belarusian diesel fuel to Ukraine was expected at 250,000 tonnes in 2020.

 

The Belarusian Oil Company CJSC was established in May 2007. Belorusneft owns a 52% stake in the company, Naftan OJSC and Mozyr Oil Refinery OJSC own 24% each. BelOil exports oil products produced by its shareholders, and purchases and refines oil at the Belarusian refineries, having subsidiaries in Poland, Latvia, Great Britain, the Russian Federation and Ukraine.