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  Belarus registers 65,114 coronavirus cases, 468 deaths as of Jul 13, 2020

Belarus registers 65,114 coronavirus cases, 468 deaths as of Jul 13, 2020

 

News sent by Belarus Embassy in India

 

Report by Mohammed Younus Siddiqui, Chief Editor, Voice of Millions Multilingual news Agency

 

MINSK, Jul 13 - PrimePress. Belarus registered 65,114 confirmed coronavirus cases as of July 13, 2020; 468 people died, Belarus’ Health Ministry reports on its official Telegram channel.

 

55,492 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.

 

As previously reported, the number of registered coronavirus cases in Belarus reached 64,932 on the previous day; 464 patients died.

 

The Health Ministry reports over 1.14 million tests for the coronavirus infection as of July 13, 2020. End

 

 

Russia, Belarus’ PMs to discuss integration Jul 14, 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 13 - PrimePress. Russian and Belarusian Prime Ministers Mikhail Mishustin and Roman Golovchenko will discuss on July 14 Russia-Belarus integration and economic affairs, the press office of the Russian Cabinet reports.

 

“Russian Prime Minister Mishustin and Belarusian Prime Minister Golovchenko will hold talks on July 14 in Moscow. The heads of government will discuss Russian-Belarusian relations and greater integration within the Union State, as well as trade and economic cooperation and joint large-scale projects,” reads the report. End

 

 

Lukashenko approves changes to terms of Russia’s loan for Belarus’ NPP project – ordinance

 

MINSK, Jul 13 - PrimePress. Ordinance No.263 issued by President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko on July 9, 2020 approves a protocol that amends the Belarusian-Russian intergovernmental agreement on the Russian state export loan for the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant (Astravyets District, Grodno Oblast). The ordinance is posted on the National Legal Internet Portal of Belarus.

 

The draft protocol is proposed as a basis for negotiations between the two governments. Amendments to the protocol can be made, unless they are of a fundamental nature. The government of Belarus is authorized to sign the protocol upon approval of the draft.

 

Adjustments to the loan terms suggest that a fixed interest rate of 3.3% per annum will be applied instead of the current mixed interest rate on the loan. The date on which Belarus will begin paying off the principal debt on the loan is postponed from April 1, 2021 to April 1, 2023. Experts estimated the benefit for Belarus from the announced change in lending terms at $600 million.

 

Russia provided $10 billion in a state loan for the construction of the Belarusian NPP. The actual cost of the plant is expected to be lower since Russian rubles may be used as the payment currency. Russian general contractor Atomstroyexport JSC (Rosatom’s division) estimates the cost of the NPP at around $6 billion. As of April 1, 2020, Belarus used $4.33 billion for the construction.

 

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. End

 

 

Belarus to spend $130m on upgrade and construction of bridges – Lukashenko

 

MINSK, Jul 13 - PrimePress. Belarus will spend around $130 million on the modernization and construction of 18 bridges in in the country over the next three years, President Alexander Lukashenko said during his visit to Slavgorod District, Mogilev Oblast, on July 13, the presidential press office reports.

 

“We reached an agreement with the Europeans that we will modernize and build 18 bridges in the next three years. This is important for transit, and it’s their transit too. About $130 million should be invested, the European money. I asked our ministers and members of government to keep in mind that this money should remain here. You must win the contract for the construction of those bridges. We must compete with those who come and want to build. We had been winning so far,” said Lukashenko.

 

He called on to use concrete in road construction to a greater extent, since Belarus produces enough of it.

 

As previously reported, Lukashenko approved on July 10 an agreement between Belarus and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on a loan for the reconstruction of bridges and the M3 highway. The first tranche of €126 million will be used to upgrade 12 bridges as part of a comprehensive road reconstruction program initiated by the government of Belarus. End

 

 

Lukashenko approves particularities of functioning of farms’ special accounts

 

MINSK, Jul 13 - PrimePress. President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has approved particularities of the functioning of special accounts of agricultural enterprises (ordinance No.262 of July 9, 2020 published on the national legal Internet posted on July 11, 2020).

 

According to the ordinance, agricultural enterprises may open only one special account to which funds will be transferred to subsidize their activities, including the provision of direct payments per unit of agricultural products sold or processed or sent for processing in Belarus, or per area unit of ​​a land parcel or per livestock head.

 

The ordinance also stipulated that the republican and local budgets will cover expenses related to the provision of subsidies to legal entities that execute investment projects on livestock and crop production, and cover losses of banks and the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus OJSC, incurred not only when providing soft loans, but also when providing budget transfers to reimburse part of the capital costs of investment projects.

 

Budget transfers for the reimbursement of part of the capital costs of investment projects will be provided from the republican and/or local budgets by a decision of the government and local executive and administrative bodies, respectively, in an amount not exceeding 25% of the capital costs. The transfer procedure will be determined by the Council of Ministers.

 

Financing of the construction, reconstruction and modernization of agricultural production facilities can be carried out at the expense of the republican and/or local budgets. Previously, such financing was only provided as part of state support and local investment programs.

 

The list of national events that may be financed from the republican budget is supplemented by a paragraph on reimbursement to business entities for assessing the conformity of organic products produced in Belarus and its production processes to technical requirements.

 

In connection with the adopted ordinance, amendments were also made to the resolution of the Council of Ministers No. 954 of October 9, 2014 "On measures to implement the ordinance of the President of the Republic of Belarus of July 17, 2014 No. 347",

 

On July 8, 2020, the government issued resolution No.405, which includes contracts for the purchase of veterinary products, protein raw materials and animal feed in the list of contracts in agriculture, for which subsidies are provided and debts are paid off. End

 

 

Belarus reports $682.6mn foreign trade surplus in Jan-May 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 13 - PrimePress. Belarus’ surplus in foreign trade in commodities and services amounted to $682.6 million in January-May 2020 compared with a $114.4 million surplus in January-May 2019, says the National Statistics Committee of Belarus (Belstat).

 

The foreign trade turnover of goods and services decreased in Jan-May 2020 by 19.2% year on year to $26.582 billion.

 

Exports of commodities and services decreased in Jan-May 2020 by 17.4% year on year to $13.632 billion; imports were down 21% to $12.95 billion.

 

The deficit of foreign trade in commodities amounted to $882.3 million in Jan-May 2020 to compare with a $1.338 billion deficit in Jan-May 2019.

 

Exports of commodities (in FOB prices) were down 21.2% yoy in Jan-May 2020 to $10.212 billion, imports decreased 22.4% to $11.094 billion.

 

The surplus of foreign trade in services amounted to $1.565 billion in Jan-May 2020 against a $1.452 billion surplus in Jan-May 2019.

 

Exports of services decreased in Jan-May 2020 by 3.5% year on year to $3.421 billion; imports were down 11.3% to $1.856 billion.

 

As previously reported, Belarus’ foreign trade deficit stood at $243.4 million in 2019. The turnover of foreign trade in goods and services totalled $84.175 billion; exports – $41.966 billion; imports – $42.209 billion. Export of goods (in FOB prices) amounted to $32.315 billion in 2019, imports – $36.391 billion; export of services – $9.651 billion; imports of services – $5.818 billion. End

 

 

Belarus’ export revenues down 20.6% in Jan-May 2020 to $13.432bn

 

MINSK, Jul 13 - PrimePress. Belarus’ foreign exchange revenues from exports of goods, services, non-financial transfers of companies and private households decreased 20.6% year on year in January-May 2020 to $13.432 billion, reads a statistical report released by the National Bank of Belarus.

 

In May 2020 alone, foreign exchange revenues amounted to $2.487 billion, down by 1.6% month on month and by 27.2% to compare with May 2019.

 

Revenues of commodity exports reduced by 25.4% year on year in Jan-May 2020 to $9.558 billion, export of services – down 5.5% to $3.508 billion, incomes – down 8% to $114.4 million, other transfers – down 3.2% to $251 million.

 

Payments for imported goods and services, non-financial transfers of companies and private households decreased 13.2% year on year in Jan-May 2020 to $13.895 billion. In May 2020 alone, payments for imported goods and services and non-financial transfers amounted to $2.248 billion, down 2.7% month on month, down 30.2% to compare with May 2019.

 

Payments for imported of goods decreased 16.6% year on year to $11.198 billion, payments for imported services – up 7.9% to $1.894 billion, payments of incomes – up 3.6% to $588.4 million; transfers – down 14.2% to $214.1 million.

 

All in all, Belarus produced a deficit of foreign trade payments for goods, services, non-financial transfers of companies and private households in Jan-May 2020 in the amount of $462.8 million to compare with a $917.2 million surplus in Jan-May 2019. End

 

 

Monday forex session: ruble up 0.47% against dollar to Br2.4185/$1

 

MINSK, Jul 13 - 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 Br2.4185/$1 to the dollar on Jul 13, up 0.47% on the previous day of trading, says the BCSE official report.

 

Following the bidding at the single forex session on Monday, the ruble stood at Br2.7372/€1 to the euro, up 0.23%; at Br3.4172/RUB100 to the Russian ruble, down 0.16%.

 

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

 

 

NBB demands that Belarus’ banks do not unilaterally raise interest rates

 

MINSK, Jul 13 - PrimePress. Banks are requested to take measures to comply with legal requirements when concluding and executing loan agreements and ensure a reduction in increased interest for improper fulfilment of obligations under loan agreements by credit recipients, reads the letter of the National Bank of Belarus (NBB) sent to Belarusian banks on July 13, 2020.

 

The National Bank notes that some loan agreements with customers entitle banks to raise the interest rates for using loans unilaterally without entering into a supplement agreement to the loan agreement under certain conditions, in particular if the borrower does not fulfill obligations to ensure quarterly minimum cash inflows to current accounts at the banks, assign borrowers to the “potential financial instability” group, a failure to provide sufficient security at the time indicated by the bank, and not concluding a life insurance contract in case of death.

 

“The presence of such conditions in loan agreements does not meet the requirements stipulated by Article 145.3 of the Banking Code of the Republic of Belarus and paragraph 11 of the Guideline for the procedure for the provision of funds in the form of a loan and their repayment approved by National Bank’s resolution No.149 of March 29, 2018,” reads the letter.

 

Also, according to the NBB, some banks do not comply with the recommendations on the need to reduce the increased interest for using credits set for borrowers who failed to repay the loan on time, as well as the proportionality of the penalty for improper performance of obligations under the loan agreement. Loan agreements of some banks stipulate that borrowers pay increased interest on untimely repaid loans in the amount of the interest rate for using the loan increased 2- to 3-fold.

 

“As a result, the economic sense of increased interest is distorted, as banks need to cover the costs associated with finding extra resources that have a cost different from the cost of the resources raised earlier,” the NBB says.

 

In this regard, the collection of the specified amount of increased interest can be regarded as an additional penalty for a violation of the terms of the loan agreement. Since, in addition to increased interest, borrowers are required to pay interest in the amount of 0.01% to 3% per each day of delay or a fine, these terms of loan agreements do not comply with the recommendations issued by the National Bank on the non-application of two or more types of penalties for one violation.

 

“Such financial burden not only does not stimulate timely fulfillment of obligations, but also makes it impossible for borrowers to fulfill obligations under loan agreements,” says the National Bank. End

 

 

Transfer of state-run enterprises’ accounts from private to state banks is not widespread – Business Union

 

MINSK, Jul 13 - PrimePress. The transfer of accounts of enterprises with state-owned shares from private to state banks has not become massive, as business remain reluctant to follow the authorities’ instruction, says Director of the Business Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers Zhanna Tarasevich.

 

Earlier, a number of enterprises complained to the Union that sectoral government bodies (Bellegprom and the Ministry of Architecture and Construction among them) require citing the government’s order that enterprises with state-owned shares are expected to transfer accounts from private banks to Belarusbank, Belagroprombank and Belinvestbank, which are owned by the state.

 

Some agencies only instructed to transfer accounts from private banks, while the others specified that accounts must be transferred from banks co-owned by Russian entities.

 

This request was primarily addressed to companies engaged in processing of agricultural products. This process has slowed down recently, since businesses manifest their negative attitude to this.

 

The Union voiced concern over the noncompliance of this instruction to market functioning principles and can seriously undermine the economy, which is already under pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

The Republican Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs expressed its solidarity with the Union of Entrepreneurs and Employers, and appealed to the government and the National Bank of Belarus for substantiation. The National Bank officially responded that the legislation in force does not contain any restrictions regarding the choice of servicing banks.

 

According to the National Bank, currently (as of June 19, 2020) 24 banks are operating in Belarus, of which 4 are banks with a predominant share of the state in the authorized capital (63% of the total assets) and 15 banks have a predominant share of foreign capital (34%). End

 

 

Belarusbank cuts fee for operations with accounts of individuals from 3% to 2%

 

MINSK, Jul 13 - PrimePress. On July 22, 2020, ASB Belarusbank OJSC reduced the amount of the fee for operations on crediting funds to current accounts of individuals, including accounts, to which bank cards were issued, as well as issuing funds without opening an account in Belarusian rubles, Belarusbank’s press office reports.

 

The bank also set ceilings for fees charged for crediting accounts (issuing funds without opening an account) in Belarusian rubles and foreign exchange in the amount of up to Br500 ($205.8 at the rate of the National Bank of Belarus).

 

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. End

 

 

NBB’s currency rates as of Jul 13, 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 13 - PrimePress. The National Bank of Belarus (NBB) set on Jul 13, 2020 the following exchange rates of the Belarusian ruble (Br) against foreign currencies for Jul 13, 2020.

 

 

Currency

 

Br

1

AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR

AUD

1.6858

1

BULGARIAN LEV

BGN

1.3998

100

UKRANIAN HRYVNA

UAH

8.9250

10

DANISH KRONE

DKK

3.6769

1

U.S. DOLLAR

USD

2.4185

1

EURO

EUR

2.7372

10

POLISH ZŁOTY

PLN

6.1198

10,0000

IRANIAN RIAL

IRR

5.7583

100

ICELAND KRONA

ISK

1.7196

100

JAPANESE YEN

JPY

2.2583

1

CANADIAN DOLLAR

CAD

1.7830

10

CHINESE YUAN

CNY

3.4540

1

KUWAITI DINAR

KWD

7.8602

10

Moldovan Leu

MDL

1.4143

1

New Zealand Dollar

NZD

1.5888

10

NORWEGIAN KRONE

NOK

2.5635

100

RUSSIAN RUBLE

RUB

3.4172

1

SDR (Special Drawing Rights)

XDR

3.3483

1

SINGAPORE DOLLAR

SGD

1.7396

100

KIRGHIZ SOM

KGS

3.1075

1,000

KAZAKH TENGE

KZT

5.8651

10

TURKISH LIRAS

TRY

3.5226

1

BRITISH POUND STERLING

GBP

3.0485

100

CZECH KORUNA

CZK

10.2598

10

SWEDISH KRONA

SEK

2.6339

1

SWISS FRANK

CHF

2.5680

 

July 10, 2020

 

Belarus registers 64,604 coronavirus cases as of Jul 10, 454 dead

 

MINSK, Jul 10 - PrimePress. Belarus registered 64,411 coronavirus cases as of July 10, 2020, 454 people died, the Health Ministry of Belarus reports on its official Telegram channel.

 

54,254 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.

 

Yesterday, the ministry reported about 64,411 registered coronavirus cases and 449 coronavirus-related deaths in Belarus. End

 

 

Lukashenko orders to synchronize private sector wage with average wage at Belarus’ top ten state-owned enterprises

 

MINSK, Jul 10 - PrimePress. Alexander Lukashenko has ordered to ‘correlate’ salaries at private companies with the average wage at the country’s top ten enterprises. Lukashenko gave the instruction to synchronize private sector wages with those in the public sector as he visited ZAO Atlant on July 10, the president’s press-service said in a statement.

 

“I ask to take this issue under control. The government must implement this instruction. I was thinking about salaries, how we were going to proceed. I suggest we take the country’s ten major enterprises such as Atlant, MAZ, BelAZ which pay the highest salaries. On top is the company paying the highest and at the bottom – the one with the lowest salaries. Then we calculate the average salary of these ten and communicate this information to privately-owned companies,” said Lukashenko.

 

“Private enterprises cannot pay salaries lower than the top 10 enterprises. In this way, we will also control the salaries of those who consider themselves to be ‘free from everything'," said Lukashenko.

 

As previously reported, June’s average gross salary of employees in Belarus amounted to Br1,080.5 in nominal terms ($443.9 at the rate of National Bank of Belarus, +0.8% month on month). End

 

 

 

Belarus to create home-made electric vehicle by 2025 – Lukashenko

 

MINSK, Jul 10 - PrimePress. An electric vehicle designed and manufactured in Belarus will emerge by 2025.

 

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko made a statement to this effect as he visited ZAO Atlant on July 10, the president’s press-service said in a statement.

 

“I am convinced that in this five-year plan [the next five-year plan, 2021-2025] we will make a good electric vehicle of our own. Besides, we are going to make our own electric vehicles at Geely Company premises together with China. It is already a reality,” said Lukashenko.

 

The head of state noted that imported batteries are the main problem of Belarusian electric vehicles for now. “But our specialists have even come up with new principles for making these batteries, which the world has yet to discover,” said Lukashenko.

 

As previously reported, BelGee CEO Gennady Svidersky said in Mar 2020 that BelGee could consider the manufacture of electric vehicles in Belarus provided that 5,000 to 10,000 cars will be sold locally per year.

 

The Belarus-China Joint Venture BelGee, which manufactures passenger cars under the BelGee brand, launched a completely knocked-down car assembly plant (CKD assembly) in Borisov (a town in Minsk Oblast, 70km from Minsk City) in Nov 2017. The car plant occupies an area of 118 ha, and has the capacity to make 60,000 cars per year. The new BelGee plant can potentially employ 1,300 workers when it starts operating at full capacity. The total value of the project is around €400 million, which was partially covered with China’s $158.7m credit. The company assembles the Geely Atlas, Emgrand X7 New and Coolray crossovers and the Geely Emgrand 7 New sedan. End

 

 

Lukashenko approves €259m credit deal with EBRD to finance renovation of municipal bridges, M3 highway in Belarus

 

MINSK, Dec 16 - PrimePress. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has approved an agreement between Belarus and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), whereby the bank will provide a credit €259 million to finance motorway bridges and the M3 motorway (Minsk-Vitebsk), the president’s press-service said in a release.

 

The recipient of the credit money shall be Minskavtodor-Center Company.

 

As previously reported, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will earmark €259 million at 1.2% per annum to reconstruct 12 bridges and M3 Road in Belarus. The first tranche of €126 million will be spent on the reconstruction and modernization of 12 bridges. The second tranche of €133 million is intended for renovation of 47-kilometer section of the M3 highway (Minsk-Vitebsk).

 

Since the start of its operations in Belarus in 1992, the EBRD has invested over €2.895  billion in 131 projects in various sectors of the country’s economy. In 2016 the EBRD adopted a new strategy for operations in Belarus in 2016-2019. The document abolished the calibrated approach, which restricted EBRD operations with the public sector. Belarus and the EBRD have been implementing a number of projects in utilities industry, energy saving, transport infrastructure and environment protection. End

 

 

Belarus reports 0.2% inflation in June; 3.4% inflation in H1 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 10 - PrimePress. Belarus reports 0.2% inflation in June 2020 and 3.4% inflation in January-June 2020. Prices rose by 5.2% year on year in June 2020, by 4.9% yoy in January-June 2020, the National Statistics Committee of Belarus (Belstat) said in an official report.

 

Inflation was at 0.9% in January 2020, 1% in February 2020, 0.9% in March 2020 and 0.6% in April 2020, while in May Belarus witnesses 0.2% deflation.

 

Belstat says food prices increased 0.4% month on month in June, and increased by 3.2% since early 2020. Food prices rose by 4.8% month on month in June 2020, by 4.1% year on year in January-June 2020.

 

Non-food prices decreased by 0.2% month on month in June 2020 and by 3% since early 2020. Non-food went up 4.4% yoy in June 2020, 4.4% yoy in January-June 2020.

 

Prices and tariffs for for-fee services increased in June 2020 by 0.4% month on month and increased by 4.2% since early 2020. Prices of for-fee services went up by 7% yoy in June 2020, by 7.1% yoy in January-June 2020.

 

As previously reported, inflation in 2019 was at 4.7%, the official forecast being 5%. The official inflation forecast for 2020 is also at or below 5%, the National Bank’s forecast standing at 6%. End

 

 

EDB reports $7.6m deficit in Belarus’ trade with EEU members in 2019

 

MINSK, Jul 10 - PrimePress. The deficit in Belarus’ trade with member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU - Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia) in 2019 stood at $7.6 billion, or 12% of GDP. This finding is presented in the report entitled Main Tendencies in Belarus’s Integration Development in 2019 prepared by the Eurasian Development Bank’s (EDB) Centre for Integration Studies.

 

Imports from the EEU countries amounted to $22.2 billion (minus 2.6%) in 2019. The main import position is mineral fuel: it accounts for about 40% of imports of Belarus from the EEU countries. The trade deficit has been the result of import of mineral fuel from EEU members, or more precisely - with the Russian Federation. Without this position, the trade balance would have been positive.

 

In 2019, exports to the EEU countries amounted to $14.5bn (+4.4% year on year). The main export positions are livestock products, light industry goods and machinery and equipment. These categories account for 65% of exports to the EEU countries. Belarusian exports here are mainly of high value-added industrial goods.

 

The Russian Federation continues to dominate the country’s trade structure with the EEU members. The Russian Federation accounts for 93% of Belarus’ exports and 99.2% of its imports. However, in 2019, Russia’s share in exports declined slightly in favour of Kazakhstan and Armenia. The share of these countries is gradually increasing and amounted to 6.1% in Belarusian exports by late 2019.

 

“The main problem of Belarus’ export to the EEU is a weak diversification in countrywise terms. More than 90% of goods are supplied to Russia, which makes Belarusian industry dependent on the economic situation in one country. If a crisis occurs in the Russian economy, it has a mirror effect on the situation in Belarus. And if we take into account that 50-60% of the output of the manufacturing industry is sent abroad, the decrease in export supplies leads to overproduction, which cannot be compensated at the expense of the domestic market. The Belarusian government is actively seeking alternative sales channels, developing various marketing programs to stimulate demand for its goods in other countries,” reads the review.

 

Belarus’ foreign trade in services is concentrated mainly in the transport sector, which is partly due to the country’s geographic location and the implementation of the EEU measures to realize the Union’s export potential: Belarus is one of the three EEU countries that follow the route of China’s transport and logistics initiative “One Belt, One Road”. End

 

 

Belarus’ central bank suggests offering entrepreneurs guaranteed reimbursement of deposits - bill

 

MINSK, Jul 10 - PrimePress. The National Bank of Belarus (NBB) proposes that self-employed businessmen should be offered guaranteed reimbursement of deposits up to Br100,000 ($41,100) placed on deposit accounts with banks. The regulator also suggests increasing from  three to five years the period when individuals and individual entrepreneurs can apply for such reimbursement.

 

The aforementioned measures are part of the bill submitted by the National Bank for public discussion as an package of amendments to Law No. 369-З “On guaranteed reimbursement of bank deposits of individuals” of July 8, 2008.

 

Also, the bill suggests reducing the period of payment of compensation for bank deposits from one month to 7 days (from the date of application for compensation) on applications that do not require additional examination. If additional examination in needed, the period of up to one month is preserved. End

 

 

Russia, Belarus working on biometrical solution for remote account opening

 

MINSK, Jul 10 - PrimePress. Russia and Belarus are negotiating a mechanism for cross-border remote biometric identification so that customers could obtain non-resident financial services, says Deputy Director of the Financial Technologies Department of the Bank of Russia Dmitry Dubynin.

 

“Our colleagues have created and are now testing their biometric systems pretty well. Unfortunately, other colleagues in the EEU space do not have biometric systems now. If we do agree on mutual recognition and harmonization of technical regulations, requirements and cryptography, then perhaps we will pilot joint biometric systems. We’re moving toward that, it’s a very interesting project,” Dubynin said at the #btechday conference.

 

The Bank of Russia representative told RIA Novosti that there are no plans to merge biometric bases within the project. The working group within the framework of the EEU has already analyzed the national legislation of the Union member countries in the field of “anti-laundering” legislation and personal data, as well as requirements for the protection of information in cross-border data transfers. End

 

 

Friday forex session: ruble up 0.13% against dollar to Br2.43/$1

 

MINSK, Jul 10 - 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 Br2.43/$1 to the dollar on July 10, up 0.13% on the previous day of trading, says the BCSE official report.

 

Following the bidding at the single forex session on Friday, the ruble stood at Br2.7435/€1 to the euro, up 0.38%; at Br3.4118/RUB100 to the Russian ruble, up 0.59%.

 

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

 

 

BelAZ reports 40% increase in exports to remote foreign states

 

MINSK, Jul 10 - PrimePress. OAO Belarusian Automobile Plant (BelAZ) has put a lot of effort in export diversification in H1 2020 ending up with a 39.9% increase in exports to remote foreign states (foreign states other the CIS states).

 

In the period from January to June 2020 in the geography of supplies of machinery (dump trucks, bulldozers, irrigation machines) to non-CIS countries included India, Mongolia, Poland, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In March, the company shipped another lot of BELAZ-78221 front loaders to Algeria to the state company GICA Group.

 

As a whole, in H1 2020, BelAZ products were shipped to 21 countries, 14 of which are non-CIS countries.

 

The company sold 10.5% of its products on the domestic market, 89.5% of which were exported, 37.4% of which went to the Russian Federation and 12.2% to other CIS countries (Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine).

 

The average load-carrying capacity of the dump truck sold this year is 100 tonnes.

 

The Belarusian Automobile Plant (BelAZ) was set up in 1958. It is one of the world’s largest producers of automobiles for open cast mines and building significant hydroengineering objects.

 

The company assembles over 200 models of mine trucks with the carrying capacity ranging from 30 to 450 tonnes, special machines (front loaders, wheel bulldozers, wheel vehicles for metallurgic companies, aircraft haulers, irrigative machinery, automobile dump semitrailers, and consumer goods).

Engines for rock handlers are supplied by foreign companies such as Cummins (USA) and Deutz (Germany), less powerful ones are bought from Yaroslavl Automobile Plant and Ural Motor Plant (Russia).

The annual output equals 800-900 items. BelAZ produces heavy-duty trucks for open-cast mining in South-East Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. End

 

 

FEZ Mogilev registers Chinese resident wood processing project

 

MINSK, Jul 10 - PrimePress. The administration of the Free Economic Zone Mogilev (FEZ Mogilev) has registered a new resident company with Chinese capital - Tinshu LLC with an investment project for wood processing.

 

FEZ Mogilev was created in 2002, consists of 18 plots with a total area of more than 3,339 hectares. The area of free land plots for new construction is 513.85 hectares. As of July 10, 2020 there were 43 residents registered in FEZ Mogilev. End

 

 

EEU plans to simplify goods transit system

 

MINSK, Jul 10 - PrimePress. Member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) plan to sign an agreement to simplify the EEU transit system for goods in cases where security is to be provided for the payment of customs duties, the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) said in a statement.

 

The main purpose of the agreement is to create a more comfortable system to ensure payment of customs duties during customs transit. End

 

 

JTI social accountability project: Minsk City’s Third Age University sums up results of academic year

 

MINSK, Jul 10 - PrimePress. Minsk City’s Third Age University (TAU) has announced a completion of the 2019-2020 academic year, which was conducted with the assistance of the JTI company.

 

More than 800 senior citizens of Minsk of the 60+ age group became TAU students. During this academic year TAU students had an opportunity to study a wide range of disciplines in 25 areas, including calligraphy, room gardening, age make-up, guided study, school of legal literacy.

 

 The Third Age University is an example of an effective project on inclusion and socialization of the elderly. JTI has been cooperative partner of the University for five years now. End

 

 

July 9, 2020

 

Belarus registers 64,411 coronavirus cases as of Jul 9, 449 dead

 

MINSK, Jul 9 - PrimePress. Belarus registered 64,411 coronavirus cases as of July 9, 2020, 449 people died, the Health Ministry of Belarus reports on its official Telegram channel.

 

53,609 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.

 

Yesterday, the ministry reported about 64,224 registered coronavirus cases and 443 coronavirus-related deaths in Belarus.

 

The Health Ministry says around 1.1 million tests for the coronavirus infection have been conducted in Belarus as of July 9. End

 

 

Belarus still in talks with IMF over opening $940m rapid financing programme

 

MINSK, Jul 9 - PrimePress. Belarus continues negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the terms of facilitating a loan under the Rapid Financing Instrument to overcome the coronavirus pandemic, but the parties are still unable to agree on a number of non-financial issues, according to chief of the IMF mission for Belarus Jacques Miniane.

 

“We continue discussing the terms of providing rapid financing for Belarus, but so far we have been unable to reach an agreement on certain issues,” the Interfax-West news agency reports citing Jacques Miniane as saying.

 

In particular, the approaches followed by  the Belarusian authorities to combat the epidemic, according to the IMF assessment, do not meet the existing challenges, said Miniane.

 

As previously reported, in April 2020, Belarus addressed the IMF with a request for financial support to mitigate the impact of the global economic crisis and the coronavirus pandemic. The IMF Rapid Financing Instrument is designed to provide financial assistance to the IMF members to support government policies when emergency funding is required. Based on Belarus’ quota in the IMF, which equals SDR 681.5 million, the country may claim a total amount of financing of about $940 million. The talks have not yet been finalized. On June 19, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that the IMF set unacceptable additional conditions for tightening anti-epidemic measures, which were not related to the financial part of the agreement, and which Belarus would not meet. End

 

 

EEC includes 178 industrial projects in EEU industrialization map to the tune of $194.5bn

 

MINSK, Jul 9 - PrimePress. The Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) is preparing a draft map of industrialization of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which includes 178 investment projects in 18 industries in the total amount of $194.5 billion.

 

EEC Minister for Industry and Agro-Industrial Complex Artak Kamalyan made a statement to this effect during a meeting with Belarusian Minister of Industry Petr Parkhomchik on July 8.

 

Kamalyan says the EEC industrialization map will become an important tool to coordinate import substitution and production cooperation in order to increase the local content of existing industries.

 

In his words, the document will reflect import-dependent technological sectors, the potential of EEU-based manufacturers, established industrial projects and cooperation relations in the EEU. This will allow the parties to avoid duplication of production and move towards sectoral specialization of industrial producers.

 

According to the EEC minister, in addition to investment projects, the draft map includes 555 technological areas in 29 industries where cooperation on import substitution is possible.

 

They plan to approve the document at a meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council in Minsk on July 17, 2020. End

 

 

Belarus redistributes residue balance of innovation funds worth Br1.972m million in favour of five projects - ordinance

 

MINSK, Jul 9 - PrimePress. The leftover balance of Belarus’ Republican Central Innovation Fund and local innovation funds in the amount of about Br1.972 million ($808,195 at the exchange rate of the National Bank of Belarus), which emerged as of Jan 1, 2020, will be allocated to innovation projects of Belarusian enterprises, in accordance with presidential ordinance #254 of July 7, 2020.

 

In particular, the balance of the Republican Innovation Fund in the amount of about Br36,569 ($14,989; $1/Br2.4399) will be used to create a centre for hybrid cardiac surgery at the National Cardiology Centre. End

 

 

Belarus opens 85,543 family capital accounts as of Jul 1

 

MINSK, Jul 9 - PrimePress. Belarus has opened 85,543 family capital deposit accounts as of July 1, 2020, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of Belarus said in a statement.

 

Under the 2015-2019 Family Capital Programme, 81,881 family capital deposit accounts were opened to the tune of $818.81m.

 

The amount of family capital under this programme is set at $10,000 for large families where the third or subsequent child was born (or adopted) between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2019 inclusive.

 

Under the 2020-2024 Family Capital Programme 3,662 family capital deposit accounts were opened to the tune of Br82.395 million ($33.770m).

 

Under this programme, family capital amounts to Br22,500 ($9,222, $1/Br2,4399) and is allocated to large families where the third or subsequent child was born (or adopted) from  January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2024 inclusive.

 

The Ministry also reported that as of July 1, 2020, 17,905 applications were filed for early (before the child turns 18) disposal of family capital funds. Of these, 16,828 (94%) were filed for improvement of housing conditions, 583 (3%) - for education, 494 (3%) - for medical services. A total of 16,151,000 decisions have been taken in favour of early disposal of family capital.

 

As previously reported, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko extended the family capital programme till Dec 31, 2024. The document says that family capital is provided to a Belarusian family upon the birth (adoption) of a third and subsequent children provided that there are at least three children under 18, including a newborn or a newly adopted child, in this family.

 

After the child turns 18, the money can be used to improve housing conditions, receive education, social services and healthcare services, or be deposited to a mother’s pension account.

 

The money can also be used earlier to improve housing conditions of families with many children if they are on waiting lists; get education (family members can pay tuition fees at state colleges and universities); pay for healthcare services in healthcare institutions.

 

Family capital allowances in the amount of amount of Br22,500 will be formed starting Jan 1, 2019 and will be annually adjusted to the consumer price index. End

 

 

Belarusbank, Great Stone Industrial Park sign memorandum of cooperation under Iskra Programme

 

MINSK, Jul 9 - PrimePress. Belarusbank and the Development Company of the China-Belarus Great Stone Industrial Park have signed a memorandum of cooperation in the framework of the Iskra Investment Project Programme.

 

The Iskra Programme was created in the format of an investment club for the development of scientific and technological achievements, support for entrepreneurs and the attraction of new industries to the Great Stone Industrial Park.

 

Belarusbank is ready to provide program participants with a full range of banking services, including credit financing for promising projects on favourable terms.

 

Belarusbank, one of Belarus’ largest banks, was established in July 1991 and transformed into an open joint-stock company in October 1995 by merging with Sberbank of Belarus. The state-owned share in the statutory capital of the bank is 99.95%.

 

The China-Belarus Great Stone Industrial Park is located in the vicinity of Minsk National Airport on the area of 112.5 sq. km.

 

The special privileged legal regime of the park is valid until 2062. The Great Stone Industrial Park stakes on the development of electronics, biomedicine, fine chemistry, engineering. The declared amount of investment for residents is at least $5 million (at least $500,000 in the case of a research project or if the project is implemented within the first three years). The land in the park can be sold and owned as private property. Companies from 15 countries with more than US $1 billion in declared investments are registered as park residents. End

 

 

Poland’s Getin Holding S.A. starts preparations to sell Belarus-based Idea Bank

 

MINSK, Jul 9 - PrimePress. Poland’s Getin Holding S.A. has started making preparations for a potential sale of the Belarus-based Idea Bank. The Polish Group stated that in their current report № 17/2020 published on the corporate website on July 8.

 

“The Management of Getin Holding S.A. (the Issuer) hereby reports that with reference to the fact that it received two indicative offers to purchase interest in Idea Bank S.A. the Issuer’s subsidiary company based in Minsk, Belarus (Idea Bank Belarus, the Bank), it decided to take steps aiming at potential sale of all shares held in Idea Bank Belarus.”

 

The intended steps include making it possible for potential buyers to carry out due diligence in the Bank, and after its positive completion establishing terms for the potential sales transaction. The Issuer shall report subsequent stages of the potential sales transaction process in current reports.

 

Idea Bank (known as Sombelbank till February 2013), with 100% foreign capital, was registered in April 2004. Polish Getin International S.a.r.l. has a controlling stake in the bank. End

 

 

Alfa-Bank to issue seven-year bonds worth Br50m at 9% per annum

 

MINSK, Jul 9 - PrimePress. Alfa-Bank (Belarus) has announced an intention to place the thirty-fifth issue of corporate bonds worth Br50 million ($20.492 million at the rate of National Bank of Belarus) at an annual rate of 9%.

 

A total of 10,000 securities with a face value of Br5,000 ($2,049; $1/Br2.4399) will be issued.

 

The 7-year bonds will mature on July 26, 2027.

 

Alfa-Bank (Belarus) was established in 1999 (referred to as “International Trade and Investment Bank” until November 2008). Alfa-Bank holds 55.07% of the shares and ABH Belarus Limited holds 44.81%. The Bank offers its services through its central office in Minsk and 42 branches and remote workplaces in all regions of the country. End

 

 

ASB Leasing finances purchase of Polish diesel train DP6 for Belarus Railway Company

 

MINSK, Jul 9 - PrimePress. ASB Leasing LLC (the leasing arm of Belarusbank) has made use of a financial leasing scheme to supply a Polish-made DP6 diesel train by Reza Bydgoszcz SA for the Belarusian Railway Company, which is currently 

Renewing its rolling stock fleet.

 

The fourth DP6 diesel train for Belarusian Railway Company was delivered in early June 2020. The newly-purchased trains will be used on interregional routes connecting Minsk, Vitebsk, Grodno and Mogilev. By the end of 2020 they plan to purchase another two DP6 trains for the Belarusian Railway Company.

 

ASB Leasing LLC was registered in March 2004. Belarusbank is the main shareholder of the company with a 99.99% share. The company provides services of financial leasing, international leasing and leasing for individuals. End

 

 

Thursday forex session: ruble up 0.27% against dollar to Br2.4332/$1

 

MINSK, Jul 9 - 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 Br2.4332/$1 to the dollar on July 9, up 0.27% on the previous day of trading, says the BCSE official report.

 

Following the bidding at the single forex session on Thursday, the ruble stood at Br2.7541/€1 to the euro, up 0.02%; at Br3.4319/RUB100 to the Russian ruble, down 0.05%.

 

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

 

 

life:) implements pay-as-you-go billing

 

MINSK, Jul 9 - PrimePress. Belarus’ mobile operator life:) (ZAO BeST) has made it possible for its customers to pay for services after their use, the company said in a press service.

 

Previously, life:) subscribers were able to pay for services only in prepaid mode, which excluded the possibility of making voice calls and using internet services with a negative balance.

 

BeST was registered on November 5, 2004. At present Turkcell owns 80% of the shares while the Belarusian Information Technologies and Communications Ministry owns 20%. BeST took out a license to provide communication services in Belarus on March 24, 2005. The trade name life:) was introduced on December 3, 2008. life:) launched 3G services in Belarus on November 2, 2009; LTE services in August 2016. The operator’s subscriber base counts 1.1 million active users. End

 

 

Belarus reduces diesel fuel supplies to Ukraine in Jan-Jun by 24% to 794,000 tonnes

 

MINSK, Jul 9 - PrimePress. State oil exporter Belarusian Oil Company CJSC (BelOil) reduced diesel fuel supplies to Ukraine in January-June 2020 by 24% year on year to 794,000 tonnes, says Ukrainian Consulting Group A-95.

 

The Ukrainian diesel fuel market showed 8.6% year-on-year growth in January-June 2020 to 3.42 million tonnes. The import of diesel fuel into Ukraine increased in January-June 2020 by 3.4% year on year to 2.86 million tonnes. The share of Belarusian diesel in the Ukrainian market in January-June 2020 was 23.2% (minus 9.8 pp). The main exporters of diesel fuel to Ukraine are Russian companies, which supplied 1.3 million tonnes in January-June 2020 (minus 6.4% in January-June 2029, the market share - 38%). In January-June 2020, diesel fuel supplies from Lithuania amounted to 309,000 tonnes (+70%, market share - 9%).

 

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.

 

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. End

 

 

China’s CITIC Construction Co. joins Novopolotsk petrochemical cluster

 

MINSK, Jul 9 - PrimePress. China’s CITIC Construction Co., Ltd. has joined the Novopolotsk innovation and industrial petrochemical cluster, PrimePress has learnt.

 

The Innovative Petrochemical Cluster was established in Novopolotsk in October 2017 in order to improve the efficiency of science and production integration. Its founders are OAO Naftan, Polotsk State University and Novopolotsk City Executive Committee. Among the announced projects are studies on creation of innovative building materials.

 

It is reported that CITIC Construction plans to develop cooperation with Polotsk State University on a number of specific projects and scientific developments, in particular, research on the introduction of modern technologies in the gas and oil refining industry of Belarus aimed at improving the quality and expanding the range of oil products and other innovative products. In the future, joint ventures with CITIC Construction may be established.

 

In May 2020, CITIC Construction and the Novopolotsk City Executive Committee signed a memorandum of cooperation, which confirmed the readiness of the parties to implement joint projects in oil refining and petrochemistry. End

 

 

Belaruskali exports all-time high of 1.07m tonnes of potash in June

 

MINSK, Jul 9 - PrimePress. Belaruskali (Soligorsk, Minsk region) says it exported the maximum volume of potash fertilizers - 1.07 million tons in June 2020.

 

“The volume of potash fertilizer exports in June is the highest among the monthly supplies of products and amounts to 1.069 million tons, which is 16.9% higher than in June 2019 and 0.5% higher than the previous record in August 2019,” reads the report.

 

In addition, Belaruskali reached an absolute maximum of 5.004 million tons of ore production in June, as well as the shipment of potassium chloride - 1.124 million tons (gross output amounted to 1.142 million tons).

 

This increase in production and exports was recorded after a long period of production decline. From September 2019 to April 2020, the company had to reduce production and work at a reduced load (up to 30%) due to the imbalance of supply and demand in the global market and, consequently, a drop in prices for potassium chloride.

 

Besides, the negotiations of the Belarusian Potash Company (BPC, export trader of Belaruskali) to conclude new long-term contracts with major importers - China and India - were complicated by the development of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, only at the end of April 2020 BPC signed a contract for the supply of $220 per tonne of potash to China in 2020 ($70 per tonne lower than the export price under the previous contract) and a contract for the supply of $230 per tonne to India ($50 lower) on May 18, 2020.

 

As a result, in January-April 2020 BPC reduced export of potash fertilizers by 14.1% against the level of January-April 2019 to 1.888 million tons (in terms of 100% active substance content). In value terms, exports of potash fertilizers in January-April 2020 decreased by 28.4% year on year (by $283.9m) to $715.134m. End

 

 

Ukraine launches anti-dumping investigation against plywood imports from Belarus

 

MINSK, Jul 9 - PrimePress. The Interdepartmental Commission on International Trade of Ukraine has launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of glued plywood originating from Belarus.

 

The anti-dumping investigation was initiated on the complaint of a number of Ukrainian manufacturers (including Kostopilskyi Plywood Plant LLC) and concerns laminated plywood (sheets) under to EEU FEACN codes 4412 32 10 00; 4412 32 90 00; 4412 39 00 00; 4412 99 40 00; 4412 99 50 00; 4412 99 85 00.

 

It is reported that during 2016-2018, Q4 2018 – Q3 2019 the volume of plywood imports from Belarus increased in absolute terms by 6.91 times, the share of such imports with regard to plywood consumption and production in Ukraine increased by 5.59 times and 8.58 times respectively. At the same time, import prices for plywood from Belarus (except for the period of 2016-2017) were lower than those of Ukrainian plywood producers.

 

The Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Trade of Ukraine will supervise the course of the anti-dumping investigation. End

 

 

Belarus to elaborate requirements for tobacco products meters

 

MINSK, Jul 9 - PrimePress. Belarus will modify the requirements for the meters of finished products used in the equipment for tobacco production

 

The move is in tune with the draft presidential ordinance, which amends ordinance No. 28 of December 17, 2002.

 

The draft provides for removing from ordinance No. 28 the rules, which are duplicated in other legislative acts, the State Standardization Committee of Belarus told PrimePress.

 

In particular, the current version of the ordinance says that the main technological equipment for tobacco production should be equipped with working and certified meters of finished products, which have passed state tests and are included in the State Register of measuring instruments of the Republic of Belarus or have passed metrological certification. 

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