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  Belarus registers 65,623 coronavirus cases as of Jul 16, 485 dead

Belarus registers 65,623 coronavirus cases as of Jul 16, 485 dead

 

News sent by Embassy of Belarus in India

 

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

 

MINSK, Jul 16 - PrimePress. Belarus registered 65,623 coronavirus cases as of July 16, 2020, 485 people died, the Health Ministry of Belarus reports on its official Telegram channel.

 

56,915 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.

 

Yesterday, the ministry reported about 65,443 registered coronavirus cases and 480 coronavirus-related deaths in Belarus.

 

The Health Ministry reports over 1.16 million tests for the coronavirus infection as of July 16, 2020.

 

On June 16, the Ministry of Health of Belarus updated the list of countries where COVID-19 cases are registered and on arrival from which a two-week quarantine is required. Russia has been removed from that list. A message to this effect has been posted on the Health Ministry’s official website. End

 

 

Campaign headquarters of Babariko, Tsepkalo and Tikhanovskaya decide to get united

 

MINSK, Jul 16 - PrimePress. Following a meeting of the campaign headquarters of the presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and the election campaign teams of the unregistered candidates Valeri Tsepkalo and Viktor Babariko it was announced that the three teams would join forces. A message to this effect was posted on July 16 on the Telegram channel of Viktor Babariko’s campaign headquarters.

 

The message says that the joint team plans to urge everyone to participate in the presidential elections on August 9, as well as to demand from the Belarusian authorities to release all political and economic prisoners.

 

They also plan to inform voters about the need to protect their votes in different ways and to encourage them to participate in fair election initiatives.

 

As previously reported, July 14, 2020, On July 14, 2020, the Central Commission for Elections and Republican Referenda of Belarus (Central Election Commission, CEC) decided to register five persons as candidates for Belarus’ presidency. The CEC chose to register Andrei Dmitriyev, Anna Kanopatskaya, Alexander Lukashenko, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and Sergei Cherechen. Viktor Babariko and Valeri Tsepkalo were denied registration.

 

The presidential election is scheduled for August 9, early voting will begin on August 4. The Central Election Commission is to sum up the election results by August 19 at the latest. The second round, if necessary, should be held on August 23. End

 

 

Belarus’ GDP down 1.7% in Jan-Jun 2020 to Br66.3bn

 

MINSK, Jul 16 - PrimePress. Belarus’ gross domestic product decreased in January-June 2020 by 1.7% year on year to Br66.3 billion ($27.606bn at the rate of the National Bank of Belarus), the National Statistics Committee of Belarus (Belstat) said in a report.

 

Industrial output was down 3.1% year on year in Jan-Jun 2020 to Br52.9 billion ($22.026bn).

 

Farm output grew by 3.7% year on year in Jan-Jun 2020 to Br7 billion ($2.914bn).

 

As reported, in 2019, Belarus’ GDP grew by 1.2% from 2018 to Br131.952 billion ($55.29bn), the official growth forecast being 4%. Industrial output grew by 1% to Br113.493bn ($47.6bn), farm output was up 2.9% to Br20.859bn ($8.74bn). Belarusian authorities forecast 2.8% GDP growth in 2020. End (Br2.4016/$1)

 

 

Belarus’ broad money supply up 0.96% in June 2020 to Br50.826bn

 

MINSK, Jun 16 – PrimePress. Belarus’ broad money supply expanded by 0.96% month on month in June 2020 to Br50.826 billion ($21.16bn) as of July 1, 2020, Belarus’ monetary authorities said in an online report.

 

Deposits in foreign exchange in June 2020 reduced by 1.8% in June 2020 to Br27.643 billion ($11.51bn) as of July 1, 2020. The share of cash in circulation made up 54.39% as of July 1, 2020, to compare with 55.94% as of June 1, 2020 and 55.51% as of January 1, 2020.

 

Of the total money supply, cash in circulation (M0 aggregate) expanded by 4% month on month in June 2020 to Br4.114 billion ($1.7bn) as of July 1, 2020.

 

The share of M0 in broad money supply stood at 8.09% as of July 1, 2020 (7.86% as of June 1, 2020; 7.64% as of Jan 1, 2020).

 

M1 aggregate, which includes cash and current Belarusian ruble deposits with banks, expanded by 7.6% month on month in June 2020 to Br10.587 billion ($4.4bn) as of July 1, 2020. M1 aggregate accounted for 20.83% of broad money supply as of July 1, 2020 (21.18% as of Jan 1, 2020).

 

Ruble money supply (M2* aggregate), which includes M1 and fixed-period ruble securities outside bank circulation, expanded by 5% month on month in June 2020 to Br21.767 billion ($9.1bn). Ruble money supply accounted for 42.83% of broad money supply as of July 1, 2020 (41.2% as of June 1, 2020; 44.37% as of Jan 1, 2020).

 

Broad money supply grew by 12.2% in Jan-Dec 2019, cash in circulation increased by 23.9%, M1 aggregate - 19.3%, ruble money supply (M2* aggregate) – 27.4%.

 

Belarus’ broad money supply was expected to grow by 9-12% in 2019 (Dec 2019 on Dec 2018). End ($1/Br2.4016)

 

 

Belarus’ capital investments up 1.2% in Jan-Jun 2020 to Br12.764bn

 

MINSK, Jul 16 - PrimePress. Belarus increased capital investments in January-June 2020 by 1.2% year on year to Br12.764 billion ($5.3bn at the rate of the National Bank of Belarus), the National Statistics Committee of Belarus (Belstat) said in a report.

 

As much as Br4.565 billion ($1.9bn) was spent on buying machines, equipment, and vehicles in Jan-Jun 2020, down 9% year on year.

 

Investments in construction and assembly operations totalled Br6.84 billion ($2.9 billion) in Jan-Jun 2020, up 5.5% year on year.

 

As much as 1.774 million square metres of new dwelling houses was commissioned in Jan-Jun 2020, up 4.1% year on year, including 515,300 square metres of homes (up 17.4%) built at the expense of soft loans from state-owned banks.

 

In 2019, Belarus increased capital investments by 5.7% year on year to Br27.846 billion ($11.6bn at the rate of the National Bank of Belarus). Spending on machinery, equipment and vehicles increased 11.8% to Br11.087 billion ($4.6bn), investments in construction and installation operations – 3.3% to Br13.938 billion ($5.8bn), housing – 2.4% to 4.062 million square meters. End (Br2.4016/$1)

 

 

Sberbank survey: Wage growth, increasing credit support of public sector creates risks for Belarus’ national currency rate, inflation

 

MINSK, Jul 16 - PrimePress. Wage growth and increasing credit support of Belarus’ public sector create risks for the national currency rate and inflation, says the review of Sberbank’s Centre for Macroeconomic Research (CMR).

 

The survey by Centre for Macroeconomic Research points out that real wages continue to grow in Belarus, which is associated with the instrument of income support in the public sector, implemented by the authorities. Since April 2020, wage growth in the public sector has no longer been linked to the growth of labour productivity.

 

Sberbank experts also draw attention to the increase in financial support to the public sector, including by raising the limits of policy lending and debt restructuring with lower rates. “Such a policy has already led to significant problems in the past, while the accumulation of additional imbalances creates significant risks for the Belarusian ruble and inflation,” says the CMR survey.

 

Such risks are exacerbated by the negative macroeconomic background, formed under the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, CMR experts say. In Jan-May 2020, the gross domestic product (GDP) of Belarus declined by 1.8% year on year. Moreover, the year-on-year pace of decline of the Belarusian economy, as estimated by Sberbank, is accelerating, and in May 2020, the GDP reduction was already 3.8% compared to the level of May 2019. End

 

 

Change in BelNPP credit terms helps Belarus reduce public spending on loan service, hedge external risks - Ministry of Finance

 

MINSK, Jul 16 - PrimePress. The change of terms of the Russian export credit for the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant (BelNPP, Astravyets, Grodno Oblast) will reduce the cost of servicing the external government loan and hedge the risk of uncertainty associated with the likely refusal to apply the variable LIBOR rate in the global financial market. The Ministry of Finance of Belarus mentioned these points in an official commentary published on the ministry’s website on July 16.

 

As previously reported, on June 14, 2020 Minsk and Moscow signed three documents, two of which concern changes in the terms of the Russian loan for the construction of Belarus’ nuclear power plant in Astravyets. 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 (LIBOR) 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.

 

Previously it was planned that the repayment of the loan would begin six months after the commissioning of the nuclear power plant, but no later than April 1, 2021. The repayment was to be provided in 30 equal installments every six months. 50% of the amount was to be interest-bearing at 5.23% p.a., the rest was to be interest-bearing at the LIBOR rate for six-month dollar deposits, increased by 1.83% p.a. on margin.

 

The Finance Ministry points out that the increase in the credit availability period by two years compared to the current conditions, the grace period, and, accordingly, the term of the loan, will allow using credit funds for the construction of the plant until its launch in 2022.

 

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. End

 

 

Parketplast Ltd. Raises $1m by investment platform Finstore.by

 

MINSK, Jul 16 - PrimePress. Parketplast JV Ltd. has raised $1 million via initial coin offering (ICO), selling the entire volume of fixed-income tokens placed on Finstore.by - the investment platform founded by BelVEB Bank, the bank said in a press-release.

 

Parkerplast will use the investment to expand its activity in Belarus as well as in Russia, Ukraine and Moldova. Investors who have supported the Parkerplast project will be paid interest income on the invested funds twice during 2020.

 

Currently, more than 1,500 investors are registered at Finstore.by, and the total volume of investments is about $6 million. The registered users have 10 offers of tokens with a fixed yield from Belarusian companies in various fields, denominated in four currencies (Belarusian and Russian rubles, U.S. dollars, euros) with a level of return of 5% to 18% per annum.

 

The Finstore.by platform was created by BelVEB Bank in early 2019. Since October 2019 Finstore.by has been operating in the legal regime of the High Technology Park (Hi-Tech Park) in accordance with Decree #8 "On the development of digital economy" by the President of Belarus. End

 

 

Thursday forex session: ruble up 0.09% against dollar to Br2.3995/$1

 

MINSK, Jul 16 - 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 Br2.3995/$1 to the dollar on July 16, up 0.09% 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 Br2.7366/€1 to the euro, up 0.29%; at Br3.3677/RUB100 to the Russian ruble, up 0.71%.

 

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 plans to get second tanker with US oil in August

 

MINSK, Jul 16 - PrimePress. Belarus plans to receive a second tanker with 80,000 tonnes of U.S. oil in August, spokesman for petrochemical company Belneftekhim Alexander Tishchenko said on Thursday.

 

“In accordance with the August supply plan, a tanker arrived for loading in the U.S. port of Beaumont and is preparing to take 80,000 tonnes of White Eagle Blend (WEB) oil to Belarus. The date of arrival at Klaipeda is August 6–8,” Tishchenko said.

 

He said that in August the oil will be taken from the port to Belarus by railway.

 

Belneftekhim explained that the WEB blend is a mixture of three oil blends (two American and one Canadian), it is specially designed for European refineries that use the Russian Urals blend as their main raw material.

 

As previously reported, the agreement on US oil supplies to Belarus was reached on February 1, 2020 during talks between U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. The first tanker with 77,000 tonnes of American Bakken oil arrived at the port of Klaipeda on June 5, 2020. The oil was delivered by rail to Naftan OJSC (Novopolotsk, Vitebsk Oblast). The deal involved the U.S. United Energy Trading and Getka and their Polish partner UNIMOT.

 

On June 30, Foreign Minister Vladimir Makey told reporters that oil supplies to Belarus from the United States would continue as part of a long-term programme.

 

Makey reminded that the president of Belarus had instructed to procure around 30% of oil from sources other than Russia. According to Makey, Belarus is guided by economic feasibility considerations and will keep working to further diversify sources of crude supplies.

 

Minister Makey says that the state petrochemical concern Belneftekhim has already made a plan of oil supplies from the United States. End

 

 

BelOil’s petrol export to Ukraine up 13% in Jan-Jun 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 16 - PrimePress. Belarusian Oil Company (BelOil), which controls exports of Belarus’ petroleum products, increased petrol export to Ukraine by 10.6% year on year in Jan-Jun 2020 to 358,500 tonnes, enkorr portal reports citing data of the A-95 Consulting Group.

 

The increase resulted from new terms of sale of Belarusian petrol to Ukrainian traders in a package with diesel fuel under fixed-term contracts for 2020.

 

Earlier, BelOil determined that the share of petrol in package sales should be at least 40% of the declared diesel fuel purchase volume.

 

As a result, the share of Belarusian gasoline in the balance of the Ukrainian market in January-June 2020 increased to 35%.

 

As previously reported, in late January, Belarus lifted the ban on petroleum products export, which was imposed due a significant reduction in the supply of Russian oil to the Belarusian refineries (Naftan OJSC, Novopolotsk, Vitebsk Oblast, and Mozyr Oil Refinery OJSC, Gomel Oblast).

 

According to the Central Dispatching Department of Fuel Energy Complex of the Russian Federation, Russian oil supplies to the Belarusian refineries dropped in January-June 2020 by 44.3% year on year to 4.646 million tonnes, although the mutually approved supply plan for 2020 provided for about 12.867 million tonnes.

 

Belarusian Oil Company (BelOil) was established in May 2007. Key shareholders: Belorusneft (Gomel) - 52%, Naftan Oil Refinery and Mozyr NPZ Refinery - 24% each. BelOil exports oil products produced by its shareholders, as well as purchases and processes oil at Belarusian refineries and forwards deliveries. BelOil has subsidiaries in Poland, Latvia, the UK, Russia and Ukraine. End

 

 

Rosatom schedules reactor start-up works at Belarus nuke plant in early August

 

MINSK, Jul 16 - PrimePress. Russia’s nuclear power corporation Rosatom plans to execute reactor start-up works at the first unit of the Belarusian nuclear power plant (BelNPP, Astravyets, Grodno Oblast) in Belarus at the beginning of August, Rosatom CEO Alexei Likhachyov said in a video address to nuclear industry employees on July 16.

 

“Concerning the main news about foreign construction sites, I will focus on Belarus, where we are proactively working to get a permit for physical launch. We hope that it will take place in the first days of August,” Likhachyov said.

 

In his words, reactor power start-up at the BelNPP first unit may be effected by late 2020, while full-scale commercial operation of the unit is due in Q1 2021.

 

As previously reported on June 29 with reference to Belarus Ambassador to Russia Vladimir Semashko, the loading of fuel into the reactor core of the BelNPP first unit will begin in August 2020. Previously, the Energy Ministry of Belarus announced the start-up of the reactor of the 1st power unit in July 2020. The ministry said energy would be supplied to the national grid starting from September or October. Nuclear fuel for the first power unit was delivered to the construction site on May 6. The commissioning of the second power unit is scheduled for 2021.

 

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. 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.

 

The launch of the first power unit was postponed from 2018 to 2019, then to Q3 2020; the second unit – due in 2021. End

 

 

Belarus’ retail sales up 2.6% on yr in H1 2020 to Br25.1bn

 

MINSK, Jul 16 – PrimePress. Belarus’ retail turnover, including the public catering sector, went up by 2.6% on the year in January-June 2020 to Br25.1 billion ($10.5bn) in comparable prices, the National Statistics Committee (Belstat) said in a report.

 

The per capita daily retail turnover in Jan-Jun 2020 totalled Br14.7 ($6.1) to compare with Br13.7 ($5.7) in Jan-Jun 2019.

 

Of the total, trade organizations accounted for 91.6%, and individual entrepreneurs and newly formed unitary companies accounted for the rest (8.4%).

 

The trade turnover of Belarus’ state-owned trading companies grew by 4.2% in Jan-Jun 2020 to Br23 billion ($9.6bn).

 

As previously reported, Belarus’ retail sales grew 8.4% year on year in 2019 to Br49.3 billion ($20.5bn). The trade turnover of Belarus’ state-owned trading companies grew 5.8% in 2019 to Br44.7 billion ($18.6bn). End (Br2.4016/$1)

 

 

Temporary regulation of prices for socially important goods extended till Oct 15

 

MINSK, Jul 16 - PrimePress. The Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of Belarus (MART) has extended the regulation of prices for socially important goods, introduced for 90 days from April 17, 2020, and for another 90 days - until October 15, 2020. MART adopted a resolution to this effect on July 14, 2020 and published on the national legal Internet portal on July 16.

 

As reported, the MART had this decision approved by the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) in early July, as without the EEC approval the temporary state regulation of prices in the member countries of the Eurasian Economic Union can be introduced for a maximum period of 90 days.

 

At present, the list of socially significant goods includes the following items:

 

fresh fish (carp species),

freshly frozen fish in carcasses, with and without heads, gutted and gutted (families of carp, cod, herring, mackerel, argentine),

butter,

wheat flour,

sunflower and rapeseed oil,

cooking salt,

polished white rice,

semolina,

wheat grits,

oat flakes with no flavour or other additives,

dried pasta without durum wheat flour,

rye and rye and wheat bread,

wheat bread, bakery products (baton) made of wheat flour,

meat (beef, pork, chicken and broiler chicken),

cutoffs and lumpy semi-finished products,

Sausage cooked products (cooked sausages, sausages, sausages),

fresh chicken egg,

pasteurized cow's milk,

kefir of cow's milk, sour cream, curd, cheese (hard, semi-hard),

baby food: dry mixes, porridge, preserves,

fresh vegetables: potatoes, beetroots, carrots, cabbage, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, apples,

black baize tea. End

 

NBB’s currency rates as of Jul 17, 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 16 - PrimePress. The National Bank of Belarus (NBB) set on Jul 16 the following exchange rates of the Belarusian ruble (Br) against foreign currencies for Jul 17, 2020.

 

 

Currency

 

Br

1

AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR

AUD

1.6733

1

BULGARIAN LEV

BGN

1.3962

100

UKRANIAN HRYVNA

UAH

8.8031

10

DANISH KRONE

DKK

3.6681

1

U.S. DOLLAR

USD

2.3995

1

EURO

EUR

2.7366

10

POLISH ZŁOTY

PLN

6.0831

10,0000

IRANIAN RIAL

IRR

5.7131

100

ICELAND KRONA

ISK

1.7115

100

JAPANESE YEN

JPY

2.2395

1

CANADIAN DOLLAR

CAD

1.7729

10

CHINESE YUAN

CNY

3.4280

1

KUWAITI DINAR

KWD

7.8013

10

Moldovan Leu

MDL

1.4053

1

New Zealand Dollar

NZD

1.5698

10

NORWEGIAN KRONE

NOK

2.5669

100

RUSSIAN RUBLE

RUB

3.3677

1

SDR (Special Drawing Rights)

XDR

3.3362

1

SINGAPORE DOLLAR

SGD

1.7219

100

KIRGHIZ SOM

KGS

3.0902

1,000

KAZAKH TENGE

KZT

5.8042

10

TURKISH LIRAS

TRY

3.4990

1

BRITISH POUND STERLING

GBP

3.0047

100

CZECH KORUNA

CZK

10.2276

10

SWEDISH KRONA

SEK

2.6370

1

SWISS FRANK

CHF

2.5369

 

 

July 15, 2020

 

 

Belarus registers 65,443 coronavirus cases, 480 deaths as of Jul 15, 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 15 - PrimePress. Belarus registered 65,443 confirmed coronavirus cases as of July 15, 2020; 480 people died, Belarus’ Health Ministry reports on its official Telegram channel.

 

56,379 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.

 

As previously reported, the number of registered coronavirus cases in Belarus reached 65,269 on the previous day; 474 patients died.

 

The Health Ministry reports over 1.15 million tests for the coronavirus infection as of July 15, 2020. End

 

 

Belarus to follow its own path of reforms, developing existing backbone industries - Lukashenko

 

MINSK, Jul 15 - PrimePress. Belarus will continue going along its own path of reforms through upgrading what it already has, developing existing backbone industries, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said on July 15, 2020 at a meeting with Vitebsk Oblast functionaries, the presidential press office reports.

 

“Reforms are not about destroying, tear down everything to the ground, and then building something instead. Do not fall for such nonsense. Our reform means improvement of what is already here. We must develop industries that are a backbone of Belarus, because we know how to do that. There is no need to demolish anything,” Lukashenko said, “Our reforms cannot be fake, enormous or “comprehensive”, as they use to say.”

 

He said that enterprises, which Belarus no longer needs, are few, and the present-day financial bottleneck impedes reforms, Lukashenko said. “We can do everything, but huge resources are required for that, first of all, money, which we do not have in good supply. We do not have large reserves of hydrocarbons, gold, metals, and we have to make do with what we have to the best of our ability,” he said. “Exports will be in focus. Exports mean foreign exchange, without which the economy cannot function.” End

 

 

Naftan remains strategically important enterprise, privatization out of question – Lukashenko

 

MINSK, Jul 15 - PrimePress. Naftan OJSC (Novopolotsk, Vitebsk Oblast), which produces various types of fuel and petrochemical products, remains a strategically important enterprise and will not be privatized, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said on July 15, 2020 at a meeting with Vitebsk Oblast functionaries, the presidential press office reports.

 

“It is one of the flagships of Belarus’ oil refining. There are many of those who set their eyes on this blue chip today. But this enterprise is strategic for us. This is about national economic security. Therefore, of course, its privatization is out of the question today,” Lukashenko said.

 

He said Belarus had been allocating funds for the continuous modernization of the company to achieve the “maximum oil conversion ratio.”

 

At present, Naftan’s constructs a delayed coking facility, 1.6 million tonnes per year in capacity, which is its major investment project. Investments are estimated at $1.6 billion. The new facility will enable the company to process up to 12 million tonnes of oil per year. The processing depth will increase to 90%.

 

As previously reported, Naftan’s revenues increased in 2019 by 3.2% year on year to Br7.71 billion ($3.186 billion at the rate of the National Bank of Belarus), while net profit decreased by 19.7% to Br3.658 million ($1.511 million).

 

Launched in 1963, Naftan is Belarus’ largest refinery and one of the largest in Europe. In 2008, Naftan incorporated another Belarusian refinery Polimir. 99.83% of the company belongs to the state. Naftan is capable of producing about 400,000 tonnes of diesel fuel per year. Naftan produces euro-4 and euro-5 diesel fuel, petrol and lubricants, which are exported to the EU, the Middle East and the United States. End (Br2.4194/$1)

 

 

Belarus’ govt, NBB establish procedure for financial backing of Development Bank – resolution

 

MINSK, Jul 15 - PrimePress. The government and the National Bank of Belarus determined a procedure for funding the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus JSC to ensure its functioning in conditions of financial instability. The procedure was approved by joint resolution No.415/14 of the Council of Ministers and the National Bank of Belarus (NBB) issued on July 10, 2020 and posted on the National Legal Internet Portal on July 15, 2020.

 

The Development Bank may apply for financial support to the Ministry of Finance if it is unable to raise funds on the domestic financial market by available means.

 

The Finance Ministry may provide the requested funds through the placement of fixed-term irrevocable deposits with the bank; acquisition (redemption) of government securities (including securities of the National Bank of Belarus) that are in the Development Bank’s portfolio; acquisition of Development Bank bonds; repo transactions; SWAP transactions.

 

Deposits can be made in Belarusian rubles for up to 30 days at the interest rate equal to the rate on an overnight loan (8.75% per annum since July 1). The Finance Ministry may place several deposits in the Development Bank for different or equal periods of time.

 

If the Development Bank has obligations to the Finance Ministry on the funds provided continuously for 90 days, the Development Bank is to request an increase in its authorized fund tin by the shareholders.

 

The resolution comes into force on the date of its official publication.

 

The Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus was established in 2011 by presidential ordinance No.261 of June 21, 2011 to increase the efficiency of projects included in government programs, reduce the time of their implementation and cost recovery. It finances government programs on its own behalf and at its own expense on terms of urgency, payment and repayment. The state holds 96.224% in the bank’s statutory capital. End

 

 

Belarus’ Development Bank to independently set terms for lending to state programs, investment projects – resolution

 

MINSK, Jul 15 - PrimePress. The Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus JSC will independently set terms for lending to state programs and commercial and non-commercial investment projects (government resolution No.414 of July 10, 2020 posted on the National Legal Internet Portal on July 15).

 

In accordance with the resolution, the Development Bank independently determines the terms and amounts of lending for targeted programs of state financial support; investment projects under state programs; investment (and leasing) projects by decision of the president of Belarus, and commercial and non-commercial investment projects selected by the bank.

 

Development Bank Chairman Andrei Zhishkevich said that previously the bank only could work with projects included in state programs or approved by the president or the government. The Development Bank thus selects projects independently, not entering into competition with commercial financial institutions.

 

According to the resolution, the Development Bank prioritizes financing of non-commercial investment projects solely funded from the national budget by decisions of the president. No business development plans are required.

 

The Development Bank selects commercial investment projects worth at least Br40 million ($16.533 million at the rate of the National Bank of Belarus) with a payback period of at least 7 years. The amount of financing of such projects provided by the bank makes up at least 85% of the amount of investment costs, inclusive of VAT, the loan term being up to 15 years.

 

When financing commercial investment projects worth Br40 million or over, the bank may require an independent examination at the expense of the borrowers. Subject to examination will also be projects that involve setting up and development of industries of the fifth and sixth technological modes regardless of their cost. Also, the bank may request an examination (comprehensive or in specified segments) for complex technological projects.

 

The resolution approves the procedure for placing idle funds of the Development Bank into deposits in Belarusian rubles or foreign exchange in Belarusian banks, including the National Bank. The Development Bank may use idle funds for lending to other banks, acquisition of government securities, securities of the National Bank and commercial banks, local authorities, and for foreign exchange transactions.

 

The Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus was established in 2011 by presidential ordinance No.261 of June 21, 2011 to increase the efficiency of projects included in government programs, reduce the time of their implementation and cost recovery. It finances government programs on its own behalf and at its own expense on terms of urgency, payment and repayment. The state holds 96.224% in the bank’s statutory capital. End

 

 

Belarusbank increases lending to SMEs in Jan-Jun by 5.7% to Br870m

 

MINSK, Jul 15 - PrimePress. ASB Belarusbank increased lending to small and medium businesses (SMEs) in January-June 2020 by 5.7% year on year to Br870 million ($359.593 million at the rate of the National Bank of Belarus), the press office of the bank reports.

 

Belarusbank provides comprehensive support to development of SMEs in Belarus, which includes investment and innovative components, as the most massive, flexible and dynamic segment of the economy.

 

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

 

 

Wednesday forex session: ruble up 0.74% against dollar to Br2.4016/$1

 

MINSK, Jul 15 - 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 Br2.4016/$1 to the dollar on Jul 15, up 0.74% 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 Br2.7445/€1 to the euro, down 0.05%; at Br3.3919/RUB100 to the Russian ruble, up 0.27%.

 

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

 

 

Russia to reimburse premiums to its oil suppliers paid by Belarus

 

MINSK, Jul 15 - PrimePress. Russia will reimburse the premiums that Belarus pays supplies of Russian crude oil through intergovernmental transfers. This agreement was approved by Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko and Prime Minister of Russia Mikhail Mishustin at the meeting held July 14 in Moscow.

 

According to the government of Belarus, following the talks on July 14 in Moscow, Golovchenko told reporters that the parties had reached an agreement on the terms of supplies of Russian oil to Belarus. He did provide details, saying that it was a technical agreement that regulates payments for energy supplies.

 

Golovchenko said all issues regarding oil supplies in 2020 had been resolved, and the terms of supplies after 2020 will be discussed by expert groups.

 

As previously reported, Russia and Belarus have been failing to agree on the full resumption of oil supplies since early 2020 (the plan for 2020 was 24 million tonnes). Belarus argues against the export premium of $10-12 per tonne to Russian suppliers.

 

The parties agreed in March 2020 that the premium would be reduced from $11.7 to $4.7 per tonne, and the $7 discount would be compensated by the Russian government through inter-budget settlements.

 

Russian Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Sazanov told Reuters in June 2020 that Russia could reimburse $60-70 million to Belarus in 2020 through intergovernmental transfers. Compensation after 2020 is yet to be discussed. End

 

 

SOCAR to supply 85,000 tonnes of Azeri Light to Belarus in early Aug 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 15 - PrimePress. The State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) will deliver another batch of Azeri Light oil in the amount of 85,000 tonnes to Belarus in early August 2020. The tanker is expected to depart from Supsa port (Georgia) on July 31 or August 1 and arrive at the port of Odessa (Ukraine) on August 3-5, Belneftekhim Spokesman Alexander Tishchenko told reporters.

 

As previously reported, SOCAR Trading (subsidiary of SOCAR) delivered about 420,000 tonnes of oil in March-June 2020 to Belarus in five batches via Odessa port and then through the Odessa-Brody pipeline to the Mozyr Oil Refinery.

 

Belneftekhim said earlier that SOCAR could 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. In 2020, Belarus has purchased 13 batches of oil from Azerbaijan, Norway, Saudi Arabia and the United States, which were delivered by sea tankers to the ports of Klaipeda (Lithuania) and Odessa (Ukraine). End

 

 

Belarus to triple electricity consumption for charging electric vehicles in 2020 to 12m kWh – Energy Ministry

 

MINSK, Jul 15 - PrimePress. Belarus will triple the electricity consumption for charging electric vehicles from 3.8 million kWh in 2019 to 12 million kWh in 2020, Belarus Energy Minister Viktor Karankevich said during the Electric Transport Day in China-Belarus Great Stone Industrial Park on July 15, 2020.

 

“In 2019, the consumption totalled 3.8 million kWh, and it had reached 2 million kWh in the first quarter of 2020 alone. We expect 12 million kWh by the end of the year. Consumption growth will increase more than 3-fold against the past year,” BelTA state newswire quotes Karankevich as saying.

 

According to the minister, the electric transport development outlook is largely based on incentive measures taken and the upcoming commissioning of the Belarusian nuclear power plant.

 

As previously reported, presidential ordinance No.92 of March 12, 2020 on promoting the use of electric vehicles zeroed the value added tax rate for electric vehicles imported into Belarus for personal use from June 15, 2020 to December 31, 2025. This applies to Belarusian nationals, foreign nationals and stateless persons who permanently reside in the Republic of Belarus.

 

The Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) decided on March 16, 2020 to nullify the current rate (18%) of the import customs duty of the Unified Customs Tariff of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) for certain types of motor vehicles with electric engines (FEACN 8703 80 000 2) until December 31, 2021 inclusive for importing electric vehicles into the EEU by legal entities and individuals.

 

Industry experts believe that the mass import of electric vehicles in Belarus may begin by mid-2021 with the coming of official dealers to the country. According to their estimates, after the abolition of VAT and customs duties, the number of electric vehicles in Belarus may increase to 100,000 by 2025.

 

According to the EEC statistics, in January-October 2019, the import of electric vehicles to the EEU member states amounted to 292 vehicles worth$14.86 million. Armenia accounted for 0.7%; Belarus - 30.8%; Kazakhstan - 7.2%; Russia - 61.3%. Electric vehicles were mostly imported from the US, China, Austria and Germany.

 

The EEU member states have not set up mass manufacture of electric vehicles, although almost all countries have industrial capacities for that. Belarusian JV Unison CJSC (Minsk Oblast) and BelGee CJSC (Borisov District, Minsk Oblast) have such capacities. With the zero customs duty, Belarus plans to manufacture 30,000 electric vehicles per year by 2023. Also, Belarus has adopted a program to arrange state charging stations for electric vehicles (500 stations by 2021). End

 

 

A1 reports 4.5% increase in proceeds in Jan-Jun 2020 to €207.9m

 

MINSK, Jul 15 – PrimePress. Proceeds of Belarusian cell communication company A1 (Telekom Austria Group) grew by 4.5% year on year in Jan-Jun 2020 to €207.9 million, A1 Telekom Austria Group said in a quarterly report.

 

The operator’s total earnings in Q2 2020 were down 6.5% year on year to €98.3 million.

 

Revenues from the sale of services in 1H20 totalled €150.6 million (down 0.4% yoy). In 2Q20 alone, they amounted to €72.5 million (down 8.4% yoy).

 

The operator’s revenues from fixed access services in 1H20 grew by 2.5% to €23.1 million (€11.3 million in the second quarter of the year, down 2.1%).

 

EBITDA grew by 2.5% in 1H20 to €92.6 million (€45.2m in Q2, down 5.5%).

 

A1’s ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) in Jan-Jun 2020 remained at €4.2 as in 1H2019; MOU (minutes of use) in 1Q20 – 521.1 minutes (474.5 minutes in 1Q19).

 

A1 saw the number of subscribers decreased 0.1% in 1H20 year on year to 4.864 million: contract subscribers – up 1.3% to 4.122 million, pre-paid users – down 7.3% to 741,900.

 

Separately, Telekom Austria Group specifies the number of customers using fixed line services – 618,100 subscribers (down 1% year on year), including fixed broadband access users – 229,900 (down 2.1%), cable TV users – 385,700 (down 0.3%).

 

Established in 1998, A1 unitary enterprise is now fully owned by A1 Telekom Austria Group.

The mobile operator A1 started revenue service of its 3G network based on the HSPA/HSPA+ technology in March 2010. The operator made 4G mobile internet services available to customers in March 2019. Until Aug 1, 2019 the company had been operating under the velcom brand.

 

 

July 14, 2020

 

 

Belarus registers 65,269 coronavirus cases, 474 deaths as of Jul 14, 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 14 - PrimePress. Belarus registered 65,269 confirmed coronavirus cases as of July 14, 2020; 474 people died, Belarus’ Health Ministry reports on its official Telegram channel.

 

55,799 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.

 

As previously reported, the number of registered coronavirus cases in Belarus reached 65,114 on the previous day; 468 patients died.

 

The Health Ministry reports over 1.14 million tests for the coronavirus infection as of July 14, 2020. End

 

 

Belarus’ CEC registers Lukashenko, Kanopatskaya, Dmitriyev, Cherechen and Tikhanovskaya as presidential candidates

 

MINSK, Jul 14 - PrimePress. On July 14, 2020, the Central Commission for Elections and Republican Referenda of Belarus (Central Election Commission, CEC) registered Alexander Lukashenko, Anna Kanopatskaya, Andrei Dmitriyev, Sergei Cherechen and Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as candidates for the presidency of Belarus, the CEC reports on its official website.

 

The Central Election Commission unanimously denied registration of Viktor Babariko as a presidential candidate, citing discrepancies in his declaration of income and property and involvement of a foreign organization (Belgazprombank OJSC) in the funding of his election campaign.

 

Before the vote, Central Election Commission head Lidia Yermoshina read out a letter by the State Control Committee of Belarus, which claimed that Babariko led a criminal group engaged in money laundering and that Babariko’s incomes were transferred to bank accounts in Latvia, the UK and other countries.

 

As previously reported, Babariko’s election group submitted to election commissions 367.179 signatures collected for his registration as a presidential candidate (at least 100,000 are required); 165,744 signatures were dismissed as unauthentic.

 

Valery Tsepkalo was not registered, as only 75,249 out of 158,682 signatures collected by his group were recognized valid. Yermoshina said that the CEC made a mistake when registering members of his group, and later accepted 2,975 signatures as valid. According to the Central Election Commission, Tsepkalo’s wife did not report Priorbank shares she owns, which was considered a significant non-conformity.

 

The CEC randomly set the dates and time of pre-election speeches to be delivered by the candidates on TV and radio, and adopted a regulation for the accreditation and activities of foreign (international) observers in the 2020 presidential election in Belarus.

 

As previously reported, the presidential election in Belarus is scheduled for August 9, 2020. Early voting will begin on August 4. The vote results will be published on or before August 19. The second round, if necessary, is to be held on August 23. End

 

 

Belarus, Russia ink documents on restructuring BelNPP loan, terms of payment for oil supplies

 

MINSK, Jul 14 - PrimePress. Minsk and Moscow have signed three documents, two of which concern changes in the terms of the Russian loan for the construction of Belarus’ nuclear power plant in Astravyets. The third document regulates the terms of Russian oil supplies to Minsk, said Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko on July 14.

 

“Today, there have been signed ... two protocols to the intergovernmental agreement on nuclear power plant construction and a separate agreement governing the conditions of energy supplies, particularly oil, to the Republic of Belarus,” said Golovchenko in Moscow after talks with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Mishustin. A video featuring Golovchenko's statement was posted on Facebook by the press service of the Council of Ministers of Belarus, as reported by Prime.

 

According to the Belarusian Prime Minister, all these agreements are in the interests of Belarus and are “very profitable” for the country. “I can say that on the construction of the nuclear power plant alone the country has save hundreds of millions of dollars, which is a Russian decision that is very beneficial to our country,” said Golovchenko.

 

Asked to clarify the terms of Russian oil supply to Minsk, the Prime Minister referred to the question as a commercial matter. He would not disclose the details, only saying that it is a technical agreement, which regulates the payment of energy supplies to Belarus.

 

As previously reported, 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, Russia disadvantage themselves by maintaining trade barriers – Golovchenko

 

MINSK, Jul 14 - PrimePress. Belarus and Russia disadvantage themselves by maintaining trade barriers, Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko said on July 14 at a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin in Moscow.

 

“We cannot but admit that we lose benefits by maintaining barriers, exemptions and restrictions of access to our domestic markets. We are fighting this together bilaterally and at the level of Eurasian integration,” Golovchenko said.

 

According to Mishustin, Belarusian partners have been operating successfully on the Russian market even during the coronavirus pandemic. He hopes that the trade turnover between the countries will increase by the end of the year.

 

“Our turnover slightly decreased in January-May due to objective reasons, primarily the pandemic. Russia’s exports to Belarus dropped by 31.9%, while Belarus’ exports to Russia were only down by 7%. This means that in this difficult situation, our esteemed Belarusian partners are successfully working on our market, which we welcome. I believe that our joint efforts will rectify the situation by the end of the year,” he said.

 

As previously reported, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko appointed Golovchenko prime minister on June 4, 2020, considering him “a reliable person and a good facilitator.” Lukashenko wants the new government to reduce Belarus’ dependence on Russia by diversifying the markets for domestic products and, accordingly, to ensure foreign exchange receipts. Golovchenko states that a reduction in Belarus’ economic, energy and market dependence is a priority. End

 

 

Russia’s crude oil supplies to Belarus decrease due to deteriorated market environment - Golovchenko

 

MINSK, Jul 14 - PrimePress. A decrease in Russian crude oil supplies to Belarus is caused by the economic situation, rather than worsened relations between the countries, Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko said on July 14 at a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin in Moscow.

 

“The Russian export [to Belarus] was affected more than Belarusian, obviously, due to the energy commodities volumes. Of course, objectively, this does not stem from worsened relations between the countries or systemic problems. This is being dictated by the economic situation and other crises that have overlapped,” Golovchenko said.

 

As previously reported, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko appointed Golovchenko prime minister on June 4, 2020, considering him “a reliable person and a good facilitator.” Lukashenko wants the new government to reduce Belarus’ dependence on Russia by diversifying the markets for domestic products and, accordingly, to ensure foreign exchange receipts. Golovchenko states that a reduction in Belarus’ economic, energy and market dependence is a priority. End

 

 

Belarus’ producer prices up 0.2% in Jun 2020, up 3.9% in Jan-Jun 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 14 - PrimePress. Belarusian producer prices rose in June 2020 by 0.2% month on month and by 3.9% from December 2019, the National Statistics Committee (Belstat) told PrimePress.

 

Prices of producer goods increased in Jun 2020 by 0.6% month on month and by 4.6% from December 2019; intermediate goods – up 0.4%, up 4.7%, respectively; consumer goods – did not change, up 1.9%, respectively.

 

Agricultural producer prices decreased in Jun 2020 by 1.3% month on month and increased by 1.4% from December 2019; crop prices – down 4.4%, down 2.2%, respectively; livestock – down 0.2%, up 2.4%, respectively.

 

Construction prices increased by 0.1% month on month in Jun 2020, up 4.7% from Dec 2019. Prices of construction and installation works increased by 1.2% and 3%, respectively; prices of machinery and equipment decreased by 1.6% and rose by 4.5%, respectively; prices of other works and expenses increased by 0.9% and 8.5%, respectively.

 

Freight tariffs (all means of transportation) decreased by 0.6% month on month in Jun 2020, up 5.1% from Dec 2019.

 

Telecom tariffs for entities and private entrepreneurs did not change month on month in Jun 2020 and rose by 1% from Dec 2019. End

 

 

Annual inflation in Belarus accelerates to 5.2% in Jun 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 14 - PrimePress. Annual inflation in Belarus accelerated in June 2020 to 5.2%, the National Bank of Belarus (NBB) reports on its official website.

 

Consumer prices rose in June 2020 by 5.2% year on year (4.9% yoy in May 2020, 5.4% yoy in April 2020).

 

Core inflation increased by 3.7%, 3.9% and 4.5% on the year in Jun, May and Apr 2020, respectively.

 

Regulated prices and tariffs increased by 6.7%, 6.7% and 7.3% on the year in Jun, May and Apr 2020, respectively.

 

The year-on-year increase in seasonal prices made up 21.5% in Jun, 11.5% in May and 10.5% in Apr 2020.

 

The year-on-year aggregate trend inflation rate was at 3.1% in Jun, 3.4% in May and 3.9% in Apr 2020.

 

In annual terms of the maximum and minimum growth rates of free prices in Jun 2020, the hotel business showed a 1.8% decrease, fabrics and yarn – down 1.3%; haberdashery – down 1%; edible salt – down 0.7%; meat and meat products – down 0.5%; bank services – up 9.4%; chicken eggs – up 10.5%; passenger transport services – up 10.7%; bicycles and motorcycles +– up 11.1%; cereals and legumes – up 13.4%.

 

In annual terms of the maximum and minimum growth rates of regulated prices and tariffs in Jun 2020, medicines showed a 3% decrease; rental of state-owned premises – down 3.4%; services of preschool institutions – up 10%; tobacco products – up 14%; vocational secondary education – up 14.6%; personal transport insurance – up 15.9%; tertiary education – up 18.5%.

 

As previously reported, inflation in Belarus was up 0.2% in Jun 2020 and 3.4% in Jan-Jun. The official inflation forecast for 2020 is 5%. The National bank of Belarus does not rule out, though, that inflation may reach 6% in 2020. End

 

 

Belarus’ Development Bank considers pre-export financing

 

MINSK, Jul 14 - PrimePress. The Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus OJSC is considering the introduction of pre-export financing, says DBRB Chairman Andrei Zhishkevich.

 

“We are discussing with line departments the possibility of further expanding the range of potential transactions that can be financed. The most significant innovation would be a possibility of pre-export financing. The Development Bank could credit not only non-residents that buy Belarusian finished products, but also Belarusian exporters, who purchase raw materials, components, produce products and export them. This seems very appropriate today, especially in the time of crisis and objective problems in foreign markets,” Zhishkevich told Respublika newspaper.

 

“For five years now, the Development Bank has been an exclusive channel for Belarusian exporters for this kind of financing, and, during this time, the legislative basis for this has been systematically updated. The most recent changes were made in April 2019, when it became possible to finance up to 100% of export contract amounts by means of loans against previous 85%. The next amendment implies a possibility of crediting insurance payments, which is also very important, because insurance of Beleximgarant, the national export insurer, is a mandatory condition for this type of lending,” Zhishkevich said.

 

In 2019, the Development Bank issued export loans to a total of $400 million in equivalent, a 20% increase from 2018.

 

The Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus was established in 2011 by presidential decree No.261 of June 21, 2011 to increase the efficiency of projects included in government programs, reduce the time of their implementation and cost recovery. It finances government programs on its own behalf and at its own expense on terms of urgency, payment and repayment. The state holds 96.224% in the bank’s statutory capital. End

 

 

Tuesday forex session: ruble down 0.04% against dollar to Br2.4194/$1

 

MINSK, Jul 14 - 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 Br2.4194/$1 to the dollar on Jul 14, down 0.04% 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 Br2.7431/€1 to the euro, down 0.21%; at Br3.4012/RUB100 to the Russian ruble, up 0.47%.

 

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’ telecom cos’ net profit down 2.3% in Jan-Apr 2020 to Br270.2m

 

MINSK, Jul 14 - PrimePress. Belarusian telecom companies’ net profit decreased by 2.3% year on year in Jan-Apr 2020 to Br270.2 million ($70.5 million at the rate of the National Bank of Belarus), the National Statistics Committee of Belarus (Belstat) said in a report.

 

The export of telecom services decreased by 2.5% year on year in Jan-Apr 2020 to $62.7 million; the import was down 11% to $42.9 million.

 

Telecom companies’ margins on sales of products, works and services were up 35.7% in Jan-Apr 2020 to compare with 34.8% in Jan-Apr 2019.

 

Tariffs for postal services rendered to legal entities and individual entrepreneurs increased in Jan-Apr 2020 by 5.9% year on year; long-distance telephone services – by 5.5%; local telephone services – same as in 2019. Tariffs for cellular telecommunication services increased 3.9%. End

 

 

Belarus cargo transportation volume down 9.3% in Jan-May 2020 to 153.742m tonnes

 

MINSK, Jul 14 - PrimePress. Belarus’ volume of cargo transportation by all types of transport decreased in January-May 2020 by 9.3% year on year to 153.742 million tonnes, Belarus’ National Statistics Committee (Belstat) said in a statistical report.

 

Transportation by rail in Jan-May 2020 totalled 48.506 million tonnes, down 19.5% year on year. The transit freight traffic amounted to 10.8 million tonnes, down 38.8%. Crude oil and oil products, construction cargoes, chemical and mineral fertilizers, and timber cargoes prevailed in transportation by rail.

 

Transportation of goods by road decreased in Jan-May 2020 by 0.8% to 60.657 million tonnes; through pipelines – down 7.9% to 43.678 million tonnes; by air – up 14.9% to 11,500 tonnes.

 

The export of transportation services in freight terms in Jan-Apr amounted to $990.5 million, down 6.4% year on year; import – $458.3 million, down 6%. End

 

 

Belarus’ Trade Ministry mulling regulation of trade in non-tobacco nicotine-containing products

 

MINSK, Jul 14 - PrimePress. Belarus should think about introducing national technical regulation of trade in non-tobacco nicotine-containing products, head of the Department of Trade and Public Catering of the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade (MART) of Belarus Mikhail Zhigalo told reporters on July 14.

 

Some measures have been taken in this regard at the level of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), he said. The list of products subject to mandatory requirements in the Customs Union was supplemented with the “nicotine-containing products” item. “This, in fact, gave a start to the technical regulation of trade in nicotine-containing products, but it takes three to five years to formulate such requirements in the EEU. In our opinion, we can work out national technical regulations, which would only take six months to a year,” said Zhigalo, “Such regulations would allow, in particular, to determine the maximum allowable level of nicotine content in the products, which is a fundamental factor to ensure their safety for human life and health.” End

 

 

Belarus imposes restrictions on sales of non-tobacco nicotine-containing products July 18, 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 14 - PrimePress. Restrictions on the sale of non-tobacco nicotine-containing products in Belarus come into force on July 18, 2020, head of the Department of Trade and Public Catering of the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade (MART) of Belarus Mikhail Zhigalo told reporters on July 14.

 

“Council of Ministers’ resolution No.232 [of April 15, 2020] comes into force on July 18, 2020. It introduces some restrictions and prohibitions on the sale of non-tobacco nicotine-containing products. Production and sales of tobacco products is regulated by presidential decree No.28 [of December 17, 2002]. The decree covers tobacco products, products consumed by heating and e-cigarette liquids. The turnover of nicotine-containing products that do not contain tobacco has not been regulated by law so far,” said Zhigalo.

 

As previously reported, government decree No.232 bans the sale of non-tobacco nicotine-containing products through commission trading, on open display and in self-service outlets, on markets, and also their sale to minors under the age of 18. Information on the available non-tobacco nicotine-containing products is to be provided on displayed price lists. Seller can provide such information on buyer’s request. A ban is also imposed on the sale of tobacco products without consumer packs, by weight and by the piece, except for cigars and cigarillos in individual consumer packaging.

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