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  Belarus’ public spending to combat COVID-19 nears Br500m – Lukashenko

Belarus’ public spending to combat COVID-19 nears Br500m – Lukashenko

 

MINSK, Jul 23 - PrimePress. Belarus’ state budget transfers to fight the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus has almost reached Br500 million ($209.608 million at the rate of National Bank of Belarus), President Alexander Lukashenko said at a meeting on July 23 to discuss the country’s economic performance and development.

 

Lukashenko said: “The fight against coronavirus has already cost the budget almost half a billion rubles. This includes additional spending on medicine and funds to support the real economy.”

 

Belarus Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko, who attended the meeting, specified that the bulk of COVID alleviation funding was the incentive payments to health and social services workers - the so-called “COVID allowances”, which amounted to Br213 million ($89.293 million; $1 - Br2.3854).

 

Besides, according to Golovchenko, in accordance with presidential ordinance “On economic support”, enterprises were granted loans worth Br145 million ($60.786m) under government guarantees and Br109 million ($45.694m) under local government guarantees. Approximately 36,000 business entities received tax benefits and preferences totalling more than Br31 million ($12.995m). Benefits through the provision of rental holidays are estimated at Br25 million ($10.480m).

 

After the meeting, Golovchenko told reporters that the budget funds allocated to overcome the coronavirus aftermath have not been fully used up. In his words, “the enterprises, which could not keep up wages at an appropriate level through work were assisted by the budget. But in general, such a burden on the budget was not required because the economy did not stop”. End

 

 

Belarus registers 66,688 coronavirus cases as of Jul 23, 519 dead

 

MINSK, Jul 23 - PrimePress. Belarus registered 66,688 coronavirus cases as of July 23, 2020, 519 people died, the Health Ministry of Belarus reports on its official Telegram channel.

 

59,439 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.

 

Yesterday, the ministry reported about 66,521 registered coronavirus cases and 513 coronavirus-related deaths in Belarus.

 

The Health Ministry reports over 1.22 million tests for the coronavirus infection as of July 23, 2020. End

 

 

Belarus stakes on farm product exports in 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 23 - PrimePress. Belarus has chosen to stake on agricultural exports in 2020.

This follows from the words of Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko to journalists after a meeting with President Lukashenko on July 23.

 

Golovchenko named the high potential of agricultural exports among the medium-term growth factors. “The task today is not to lose the crops. There’s a great demand for food,” BelTA reports citing Golovchenko as saying.

 

Earlier, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that “an unprecedented harvest” is expected in agriculture. “This has never happened in the history of Belarus. If such a harvest, advances in milk, meat and even the export of our agricultural products, it means there will be money [pouring] into the country,” he said. End

 

 

Belarus hopes to reduce its warehouse stocks to meeting external deferred demand

 

MINSK, Jul 23 - PrimePress. Belarus expects to reduce warehouse stocks by satisfying deferred demand that arose in the world amid the coronavirus pandemic and shutdown of many companies, Belarusian Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko told press reporters after a conference meeting with President Lukashenko on July 23.

 

The premier explained that warehouse stocks should not be considered as a negative factor. The accumulation of warehouse stocks depends on many factors and in the current situation they can be used to the maximum benefit. At the time when many countries and businesses were on lockdown amid the pandemic, the rate of sales of goods declined for objective reasons. “But now that the markets are reopening and we have the products, we can take them off the shelf and send them to those who need them. There is the deferred demand. We are trying to meet it. Literally in a month the stocks decreased by more than Br200 million,” said Golovchenko.

 

“There are certain warehouse stocks, but there is also a vision how to reduce them. These products will be sold, and the working capital, which is still frozen in these products, will return to enterprises,” he added.

 

As previously reported, Belarus’ warehouse inventories reduced by 3 percentage points month on month as of July 1, 2020 to Br5.5bn ($2.305bn), or 78.1% of the monthly average output. End

 

 

NBB posts estimated standard risk rates for Aug 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 23 - PrimePress. The National Bank of Belarus (NBB) has posted estimated standard risk rates for August 2020 with regard to instruments of the credit-and-deposit market.

 

August’s estimated standard risk rate for new corporate credits in Belarusian rubles (except soft credits provided on special terms by order of president, government, at the expense of local authorities) stands at 11.88% per annum (11.88% in July 2020). The estimated standard risk rate for new personal credits (except soft loans) in Belarusian rubles in August 2020 shall stand at 13.51% per annum (July 2020 – 13.51%).

 

As previously reported, in March 2020, the National Bank temporarily suspended the practice of setting and applying standard risk rates for deposit instruments due to the fact that under the current circumstances, banks should have greater flexibility in responding to changes in the market situation.

 

Accordingly, the NBB has chosen not to set estimated standard risk rate for new revocable time deposits of individuals in Belarusian rubles for June 2020 (6.21% per annum in Feb 2020), new non-revocable personal deposits in Belarusian rubles placed with banks for a period from 1 to 6 months (9.22% per annum in Feb 2020); 6-12 months (9.95% per annum in Feb 2020); over 1 year (12.05% per annum in Feb 2020).

 

Belarus’ central bank posts monthly updates on estimated standard risk rates on the NBB web site in the Financial Stability section.

 

Intended to highlight a threshold on interest rates associated with moderate risks, the NBB estimates are based on the analysis of interest rates of Tier 1 banks.

 

The list of Tier 1 system-relevant banks includes Belarusbank, Belagroprombank, Belgazprombank, BPS-Sberbank, Priorbank, Bank BelVEB, and Belinvestbank.

 

Banks, which exceed the threshold, will have to pay more to the mandatory reserve fund, and meet higher equity capital requirements.

 

Estimated standard risk rates are used by the regulator to limit risks taken on by banks, which knowingly pursue a high-risk business model or practise bad-faith competition. The instrument is intended to contribute to financial stability via effective distribution of financial resources in the economy. End

 

 

Belarus government extends guarantees to Belagroprombank for investment loans in Orsha District

 

MINSK, Jul 23 - PrimePress. The government of Belarus has extended its guarantees to Belagroprombank for 2020 to repay loans provided for the implementation of investment projects in Orsha District (Vitebsk Oblast): $41.376 million - Vitsebskmyasomolprom for the construction of a pig reproducer facility and €15.66 million - Orsha Meat Cannery for the construction of a workshop for slaughtering and processing pigs and cattle.

 

This decision is secured by Government Resolution #428 of July 21, 2020.

 

Initially, the guarantees were issued by the government in December 2018 for 2018-2019. End

 

 

Thursday forex session: ruble down 0.01% against dollar to Br2.3857/$1

 

MINSK, Jul 23 - PrimePress. Following the bidding at the single forex session of the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange (BCSE) in the format of a continuous two-way auction, the Belarusian ruble stood at Br2.3857/$1 to the dollar on July 23, down 0.01% 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 Br2.7624/€1 to the euro, down 0.47%; at Br3.3613/RUB100 to the Russian ruble, up 0.18%.

 

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

 

 

MTS Belarus launches NB-IoT service to facilitate remote collection of gas/water meter readings for corporate customers

 

MINSK, Jul 23 - PrimePress. Belarusian telecom operator and digital services provider MTS has launched a lineup of services entitled “Smart Accounting”, which provides an opportunity for corporate customers to connect automatic gas and water metering devices with data collection based on NB-IoT technology, the operator’s press service said in a report.

 

The offer targets developers, providers of housing and utility services, industrial enterprises and other organizations.

 

“Metering devices capable of recording and transmitting data via a radio channel will be connected to the MTS IoT platform. At the same time, meters connected through the NB-IoT network are capable of operating even in hard-to-reach places,” says the report.

 

The new services vary depending on the type of equipment connected, cost and payment methods. Smart Metering allows connecting individual meters, while Smart Metering PRO is designed for group and industrial devices.

 

The launch of new services is part of the MTS plan to develop the Internet of Things in Belarus. “The telecom operator and provider of digital services relies on NB-IoT technology, which allows serving a variety of devices that exchange information between each other via radio communication, while consuming a minimum amount of traffic. The use of meters connected to the IoT platform will reduce the overhead costs that resource organizations incur for regular meter inspection,” said chief of the MTS Marketing Department VItali Odorski.

 

MTS was registered in Belarus on April 4, 2002. The operator is a joint venture between Russia’s largest mobile operator Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) and Belarus’ Beltelecom operator. The companies hold respective stakes of 49% and 51% in the joint venture.

 

MTS Belarus started providing GSM 900/1800 standard services in June 2002, launched 3G revenue service in May 2010, 4G revenue service in March 2015. MTS Belarus has around 5.7 million subscribers. End

 

 

Belarus not to phase out large hydropower plants, heat power plants after launching Astravyets nuke facility

 

MINSK, Jul 23 - PrimePress. After the launch of the Belarusian nuclear power plant (BelNPP, Astravyets, Grodno Oblast), there will be no large-scale campaign to put out of service large hydroelectric power plants and combined heat and power stations, and reduce personnel.

 

Vladimir Bobrov, First Deputy General Director and Chief Engineer of the state enterprise Belenergo, made a statement to this effect at a press-conference on July 23.

 

In his words, Belenergo is currently completing technical and operational preparations for  getting the BelNPP integrated into the countrywide power grid of Belarus. The Belenergo official assured that there are no plans for putting out service existing power plants on a large-scale.

 

“We are not going to dismantle equipment in large quantities and reduce personnel. After the launch (of the first unit – editor’s note) of the BelNPP, we must have 1200 MW of reserve capacity. If it should be necessary to run planned repairs at either of the BelNPP units, we should have 2400 MW in reserve. Thus, until the actual model of the new equipment is fully tested and perfected, of course, there will be no action to remove the equipment from the energy system,” said Bobrov.

 

As previously reported, the installed capacity of Belarus’s power generating sources exceeds 10.143 thousand MW, including the installed capacity of 68 generating power sources of Belenergo – 9,109 MW.

 

The Energy Ministry’s enterprises increased electricity output in 2019 by 3.8% yoy to 40.3 billion kWh. The total electricity consumption in Belarus increased in 2019 by 0.4% yoy to 37.9 billion kWh, while the electricity exports increased 127% to 2.370 billion kWh.

 

After the launch, the BelNPP will account for 40% of domestic electricity consumption.

 

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 AES-2006 Russian standard design of (generation 3+) was chosen for its construction. The startup of the first power unit was postponed from 2018 to 2019 and then to the third quarter of 2020. The second unit is expected to be launched in 2021. Rosatom’s division Atomstroyexport acts as the general contractor for the NPP construction. The Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant RUE is the project customer and the future operator of the NPP. End

 

 

Belarus to install electric boilers with total capacity of 916 MW as part of BelNPP integration into energy system

 

MINSK, Jul 23 - PrimePress. Belarus plans to introduce electric boilers with a total capacity of 916 MW by the end of 2020 as part of the integration of the Belarusian nuclear power plant (BelNPP, Astravyets, Grodno Oblast) into the energy system of the country. Vladimir Bobrov, First Deputy General Director and Chief Engineer of the state enterprise Belenergo, made a statement to this effect at a press-conference on July 23.

 

Bobrov noted that a number of technical and organizational measures are provided after the launch of the BelNPP to improve reliability and alignment of the load schedule in the energy system of the country. “To regulate the daily schedule, we put into operation electric boilers with a total capacity of 916 MW at our facilities,” he said.

 

He also noted that in the future it is planned to increase the total capacity of electric boilers to 1,116 MW. End

 

 

BelNPP launch will stimulate efficient energy consumption in Belarus - expert

 

MINSK, Jul 23 - PrimePress. The launch of the Belarusian nuclear power plant (BelNPP, Astravyets, Grodno Oblast) will encourage efficient energy consumption in Belarus, in particular, in the development of electric transport. Deputy Chairman of the State Committee on Standards and Director of the Energy Efficiency Department Mikhail Malashenko made a statement to this effect at a press conference on July 23.

 

According to Malashenko, the project to build the BelNPP has become a magnet for new technologies, materials and equipment, which encouraged the development of electric transport, and which will eventually stimulate efficient energy consumption.

 

Belarus already has a state operator of electric charging stations, electric buses and supercapacitors are produced, while the Academy of Sciences has presented its owned-designed passenger electric car.

 

The medium-term plans to increase the industrial consumption of electric energy in Belarus after the launch of the BelNPP include about 180 measures, which primarily concern the modernization of the existing enterprises and commissioning of new production facilities and technologies, said Malashenko. In addition, there are plans to implement projects at 20 enterprises, including the replacement of natural gas with electric energy sources, with the introduction of induction furnaces and infrared heating systems at these enterprises.

 

The substitution of inefficient energy sources is also under consideration. End

 

 

Austria’s Kapsch TrafficCom to establish traffic control centre in Belarus

 

MINSK, Jul 23 - PrimePress. Austria’s company Kapsch TrafficCom will set up a traffic control centre in Belarus as part of the “Transit Corridor Modernization” project funded by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the company said in a press release on July 23.

 

Kapsch TrafficCom and RUE Minskavtodor Centre reached an agreement to this effect as a result of an international tender for the development and implementation of hardware and software, as well as comprehensive maintenance of the new Traffic Control Centre. The project also includes the supply and installation of additional components of the intelligent transport system (surveillance cameras, traffic detectors) on several road sections.

 

The Centre will collect information about road traffic in real time, including dangerous road conditions, accidents and emergency situations. This information will also be communicated to drivers and maintenance services.

 

As previously reported, in January 2015, the IBRD and Belarus signed an agreement on the allocation of $250 million of credit financing by the IBRD for the Transit Corridor Modernization project. The stated objectives of the project are to improve transport communication, improve cross-border trade and increase safety for motorists on selected sections of the road of the M6 transit corridor. In particular, it was planned to expand a two-lane road into a four-lane road in some sections of the M-6 corridor between Minsk and Grodno on an 86-km stretch.

 

Kapsch TrafficCom has already implemented a project in Belarus to create a national electronic road toll collection system - BelToll. The corresponding investment agreement was signed in February 2012 and provided for a stage-by-state implementation of this system on roads with a total length of 2,743 km. The investment cost of the project is €267 million. The BelToll system was put into commercial operation on August 1, 2013. Its owner is the State Enterprise Belavtostrada. BelToll is managed by the operating company Kapsch Telematics Services. At present, the total length of Belarus’ toll roads network is 1,787 km. End

 

 

Servolux Group enters into strategic partnership agreement with KFC

 

MINSK, Jul 23 - PrimePress. The Belarusian group of companies Servolux Agro and KFC, a division of the American company Yum! Brands, Inc., have signed a four-year strategic partnership agreement in Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Armenia, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. The parties also signed an agreement to secure annually agreed volumes of semi-finished products purchased by KFC at fixed prices, Servolux said in a press release.

 

Servolux has been a KFC partner since 2016 supplying chicken products (wings, shin, fillet) to hundreds of restaurants of this international chain, guaranteeing strict compliance with KFC standards on quality and food safety. In 2019, KFC revised its procurement strategy towards long-term relationships with key suppliers. The basis of these relationships is a strategic partnership agreement, which allows to guarantee the volume and marginality, to work together to improve the efficiency of production and development of new products.

 

Servolux is a privately owned vertically integrated Belarusian agricultural group, which controls one third of Belarus’ poultry market.

 

Belarus’ Servolux Group is a leading private branded poultry producer and animal feed producer. The Group is also engaged in meat processing, dairy products manufacturing and food retail trade in Belarus. End

 

The company exports about 55% of its products to Russia and 5-6% to non-CIS countries. The company’s total export revenue is $14-15 million per month. End

 

 

NBB’s currency rates as of Jul 24, 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 23 - PrimePress. The National Bank of Belarus (NBB) set on Jul 23 the following exchange rates of the Belarusian ruble (Br) against foreign currencies for Jul 24, 2020.

 

 

Currency

 

Br

1

AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR

AUD

1.7034

1

BULGARIAN LEV

BGN

1.4139

100

UKRANIAN HRYVNA

UAH

8.5609

10

DANISH KRONE

DKK

3.7153

1

U.S. DOLLAR

USD

2.3857

1

EURO

EUR

2.7624

10

POLISH ZŁOTY

PLN

6.2665

10,0000

IRANIAN RIAL

IRR

5.6802

100

ICELAND KRONA

ISK

1.7525

100

JAPANESE YEN

JPY

2.2264

1

CANADIAN DOLLAR

CAD

1.7836

10

CHINESE YUAN

CNY

3.4079

1

KUWAITI DINAR

KWD

7.7754

10

Moldovan Leu

MDL

1.4133

1

New Zealand Dollar

NZD

1.5919

10

NORWEGIAN KRONE

NOK

2.6118

100

RUSSIAN RUBLE

RUB

3.3613

1

SDR (Special Drawing Rights)

XDR

3.3299

1

SINGAPORE DOLLAR

SGD

1.7228

100

KIRGHIZ SOM

KGS

3.0883

1,000

KAZAKH TENGE

KZT

5.7698

10

TURKISH LIRAS

TRY

3.4835

1

BRITISH POUND STERLING

GBP

3.0369

100

CZECH KORUNA

CZK

10.5111

10

SWEDISH KRONA

SEK

2.6976

1

SWISS FRANK

CHF

2.5738

 

 

July 22, 2020

 

 

Belarus registers 66,521 coronavirus cases, 513 deaths as of Jul 22, 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 22 - PrimePress. Belarus registered 66,521 confirmed coronavirus cases as of July 22, 2020; 513 people died, Belarus’ Health Ministry reports on its official Telegram channel.

 

59,061 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.

 

As previously reported, the number of registered coronavirus cases in Belarus reached 66,348 on the previous day; 507 patients died.

 

The Health Ministry reports over 1.2 million tests for the coronavirus infection as of July 22, 2020

 

Health Minister Vladimir Karanik said on July 22 at a meeting with the leadership of the Republican Scientific and Practical Centre of Oncology and Medical Radiology and CEO of Boston-based CureLab Oncology, Inc. Alex Schneider that the coronavirus incidence was in decline in all regions of Belarus.

 

“The situation is manageable everywhere. We are not loosening control. We see not only a stable situation in all regions, but also a steady decline in the disease incidence,” he said. End

 

 

Mishustin links Russia’s energy supplies to Belarus with execution of integration roadmaps

 

MINSK, Jul 22 - PrimePress. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin links the terms of future energy supplies to Belarus with the implementation of the roadmaps for Belarus-Russia greater integration within the Union State. He spoke about this during the government’s report to the State Duma of the Russian Federation on July 22.

 

“I am firmly convinced that the Union Treaty has a great potential. I believe that we did a great job when developing the integration roadmaps in all areas of interaction with Belarus,” said Mishustin.

 

“I believe that if we create a single space using these roadmaps and adopt a single tax code, possibly, with some reservations, when we unify our rates and approaches, we will talk about energy pricing, as our Belarusian partners suggest. We have conveyed our proposals, outlined our position,” he said.

 

As previously reported, the governments of Belarus and Russia initialed in September 2019 a program to step up integration within the Union State, and approved a list of 31 roadmaps that were expected to be drafted and adopted by November. Presidents Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin were going to approve the entire package of integration documents on December 8, 2019 during the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Union State, but never did. According to Belarus, the parties failed to reach accessory agreements on prices for Russian energy commodities, compensation for Belarus’ losses from the tax manoeuvre in the Russian oil sector, and lifting of restrictions on the Russian market for Belarusian exports. President Lukashenko refused to endorse the roadmaps unless these fundamental economic issues are resolved.

 

Ambassador of Belarus to the Russian Federation Vladimir Semashko said on June 4, 2020 that the parties did not achieve real progress in energy talks, did not remove trade barriers and did not provide equal economic conditions and guarantees to business entities of Belarus and Russia, and this was reason why the roadmaps were not approved.

 

Belarusian Energy Minister Viktor Karankevich said on July 17 that the talks with Gazprom on a “competitive” gas price in 2020-2021 were in progress. The price of Russian gas for Belarus in 2020 was set at $127 per 1,000 cubic meters.

 

The negotiations are impeded by the dispute over Belarus’ debt for supplied gas. According to Gazprom, it totalled $165.6 million as of late May 2020. Russian Interfax news agency reported that this amount had grown to $273 million by mid-July. The Energy Ministry of Belarus denies the debt, saying that there is only disagreement between business entities regarding gas pricing, and that the calorific value of gas should be factored in. Gazprom said in early June that Russia would not revise the gas price for Belarus in 2020, and confirmed its willingness to negotiate supplies in 2021, provided that Belarus meets the terms of the contract in force. End

 

 

EDB expects refinancing rate in Belarus to be down to 7% per annum by 2021

 

MINSK, Jul 22 - PrimePress. The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) sees a possibility to lower the refinancing rate in Belarus to 7% per annum by the end of 2020 with the prevalence of disinflationary risks, reads the EDB’s June outlook.

 

The gradual lifting of quarantine restrictions by Belarus’ main trading partner countries has been facilitating the recovery of the economic activity in the republic since June 2020. As disinflationary risks prevail, the refinancing rate may be lowered to 7% by end of the year, reads the review.

 

The National Bank of Belarus (NBB) reduced the refinancing rate on July 1, 2020 by 0.25 percentage points to 7.75% per annum, citing a slowdown of inflation processes in Belarus and the countries that are its main trading partners, which was faster than expected, as well as the lowering of the interest rates by foreign central banks. The NBB expects that moderately soft monetary conditions will ensure price and financial stability.

 

According to the target forecast, the refinancing rate was planned at 8.75-9% per annum in 2020.

 

The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) is an international financial institution founded by Russia and Kazakhstan in January 2006 with the mission to facilitate the development of market economies, sustainable economic growth, and the expansion of mutual trade and other economic ties in its member states. The EDB charter capital totals US $7 billion. The bank’s member states are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan. End

 

 

Inflation in Belarus to remain at 5% amid slack domestic demand and weak pricing environment abroad – EDB

 

MINSK, Jul 22 - PrimePress. Inflation in Belarus will remain at 5% in the coming months, as disinflationary factors–slack domestic demand and a weak pricing environment abroad–prevail, reads the June outlook by the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB).

 

Inflation in Belarus increased in June 2020 to 5.2% from 4.9% in May mainly due to the effect of the low comparative base. Prices of fruits and vegetables decreased significantly in June 2019 because of the early harvest deliveries. The growth rate of the core consumer price index continued to slow down (3.7% in May 2020 against 3.9% in April 2020), which indicates the prevalence of disinflationary factors, primarily sluggish domestic demand and a weak price environment in the foreign markets.

 

As previously reported, inflation in Belarus was at 0.2% in June 2020 and 3.4% in January-June 2020. The official inflation forecast for 2020 was at or below 5%, although the National Bank of Belarus did not rule out an increase to 6%.

 

The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) is an international financial institution founded by Russia and Kazakhstan in January 2006 with the mission to facilitate the development of market economies, sustainable economic growth, and the expansion of mutual trade and other economic ties in its member states. The EDB charter capital totals US $7 billion. The bank’s member states are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan. End

 

 

EBRD increases financing programs in Belarus by 140% in Jan-Jun 2020 to €160m

 

MINSK, July 22 - PrimePress. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) increased funding of programs in Belarus in January-June 2020 by 140% year on year to 160 million euros in response to the needs of developing economies that are overcoming the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the bank reports.

 

The economic impacts of COVID-19 on the EBRD regions have been severe. In its latest forecast in May, the bank warned about unprecedented uncertainty.

 

EBRD’s investments in the 38 operating countries increased in January-June 2020 by 35% year on year to €5 billion.

 

The EBRD plans to allocate €21 billion in 2020-2021 to help overcome the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic in the said countries.

 

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is an international financial institution headquartered in London, created to support the economic transformations in Central and Eastern Europe. Since the start of its operations in Belarus in 1992, the EBRD has invested €2.9 billion in 134 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 the financial sector, utilities industry, and transport infrastructure. End

 

 

Belarus reconsiders public procurement procedures – draft resolution

 

MINSK, Jul 22 - PrimePress. Belarus plans to revise some procedures for public procurement of goods, works and services, including terms for foreign commodities and suppliers. The draft government resolution (posted on the Legal Forum of Belarus), which amends Council of Ministers’ resolutions No.206 of March 17, 2016 and No.395 of June 15, 2019, is put up for public discussion from July 22 to August 1, 2020.

 

The draft expands the list of goods of foreign origin, which are to meet requirements for access to public procurement, and changes the list of documents that establish the origin of goods for products of domestic manufacture and foreign products subject to preferential treatment.

 

The updated list may include oils and fats, sugar, cocoa, chocolate, seasonings and spices, malt, yarn and fabrics, leather, clothing and footwear, pharmaceuticals, tires, fabricated metals, and communication equipment.

 

It is also proposed to exclude from the list of confirming documents the certificate of origin of goods (ST-1) in relation to Belarusian goods, and add the certificate of in-house production as a document that confirms the right to apply for preferential treatment with respect to goods originating from the Republic of Belarus.

 

It is planned to expand the list of public procurement items purchased from a single source, in particular, if the prices of goods are regulated by the state, including by price-fixing, setting ceiling prices or markups, profitability rates, and price declaration. End

 

 

EEC works on new public procurement regulations for confirming origin of goods

 

MINSK, Jul 22 - PrimePress. The Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) will work out and adopt before 2021 standards for the register of Eurasian industrial products and a procedure for confirming the country of origin of goods in the territory of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) for state (municipal) procurement. This decision was made at the session of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council held on July 17 in Minsk, the EEC press office reports.

 

Proposed by the governments of Belarus and Kazakhstan, the new regulations are aimed at eliminating restrictions on the access of EEU to public procurement, primarily in the Russian Federation. According to Russian government’s decree No.616 of April 30, 2020, an EEU resident supplier may take part in procurement in Russia provided that the goods are out on the register of Eurasian industrial products. Goods that originate from an EEU member state may be only put on this register if they comply with the regulatory requirements for industrial products in force in the Russian Federation.

 

On July 17, the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council issued a field-specific order with a recommendation to the Russian government to reconsider the approach to determining the country of origin of goods when carrying out public procurement, in particular, to ensure that goods originating from a member state are put on the Eurasian register based on expert examination certificates issued by the chambers of commerce and industry of the EEU member states, recognizing the equivalence of the concepts “Russian product”, “technological operation performed in the territory of the Russian Federation” and the concepts “goods originating from a member state of the Eurasian Economic Union” and “technological operation performed in the territory of a member state of the Eurasian Economic Union.”

 

This procedure is proposed for application until December 31, 2020. End

 

 

Wednesday forex session: ruble up 0.10% against dollar to Br2.3854/$1

 

MINSK, Jul 22 - 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 Br2.3854/$1 to the dollar on Jul 22, up 0.10% 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 Br2.7494/€1 to the euro, down 0.55%; at Br3.3672/RUB100 to the Russian ruble, up 0.01%.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Belarus to start loading fuel to first unit of Astravyets NPP in August – Energy Ministry

 

MINSK, Jul 22 - PrimePress. The start of the loading of nuclear fuel into the reactor of the first power unit of the Belarusian NPP (Astravyets District, Grodno Oblast) is scheduled for August 2020, Vasily Polyukhovich, Director of the Department for Nuclear Energy of the Ministry of Energy of Belarus, said during the online conference held on July 22.

 

“We plan to begin loading nuclear fuel into the reactor in August and proceed to the physical startup,” Polyukhovich said.

 

He said the construction and installation work at the first power unit were completed by 98%. Nuclear fuel was delivered to the construction site in May 2020 and placed in a storage facility. The works at the second unit have been completed by 72%.

 

Belarusian contractors reported the completion of their scope of works by 51%. Belarusian specialists have performed about 70% of general construction and installation works.

 

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 AES-2006 Russian standard design of (generation 3+) was chosen for its construction. The startup of the first power unit was postponed from 2018 to 2019 and then to the third quarter of 2020. The second unit is expected to be launched in 2021. Rosatom’s division Atomstroyexport acts as the general contractor for the NPP construction. The Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant RUE is the project customer and the future operator of the NPP. End

 

 

Belarus’ NPP to cover 40% of domestic electricity consumption – Energy Ministry

 

MINSK, Jul 22 - PrimePress. The Belarusian NPP (Astravyets District, Grodno Oblast) will cover 40% of the domestic electricity consumption, Vasily Polyukhovich, Director of the Department for Nuclear Energy of the Ministry of Energy of Belarus, said during the online conference held on July 22.

 

“Belarus will soon join the club of economies that possess nuclear energy. This is a qualitative change in our energy system. The nuclear-fuelled energy source will cover 40% of the domestic electricity consumption,” BelTA state newswire quotes Polyukhovich as saying.

 

The Belarusian Energy Ministry said earlier that the first power unit was expected to begin supplying electricity to the national grid in September or October 2020.

 

Polyukhovich confirmed the plan to start loading nuclear fuel into the first power unit of the NPP in August. Construction and installation works at the first power unit were completed by 98% and the works at the second unit by 72%.

 

Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom CEO Alexei Likhachev said on July 16 that Rosatom expected to start up the reactor of the first power unit of the Belarusian NPP in early August 2020, and the power startup of the first power unit would, possibly, take place before 2021. Its industrial operation will begin in the first quarter of 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 AES-2006 Russian standard design of (generation 3+) was chosen for its construction. The startup of the first power unit was postponed from 2018 to 2019 and then to the third quarter of 2020. The second unit is expected to be launched in 2021. Rosatom’s division Atomstroyexport acts as the general contractor for the NPP construction. The Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant RUE is the project customer and the future operator of the NPP. End

 

 

Russia to provide 600 trained specialists to operate Belarus’ NPP – Energy Ministry

 

MINSK, Jul 22 - PrimePress. Russia has trained around 600 specialists who will operate the Belarusian NPP (Astravyets District, Grodno Oblast), Vasily Polyukhovich, Director of the Department for Nuclear Energy of the Ministry of Energy of Belarus, said during the online conference held on July 22.

 

“Russia has trained around 600 specialists who will be directly engaged in the operation of the Belarusian NPP,” he said.

 

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 AES-2006 Russian standard design of (generation 3+) was chosen for its construction. The startup of the first power unit was postponed from 2018 to 2019 and then to the third quarter of 2020. The second unit is expected to be launched in 2021. Rosatom’s division Atomstroyexport acts as the general contractor for the NPP construction. The Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant RUE is the project customer and the future operator of the NPP. End

 

 

BeCloud to launch second data centre module in 4Q20

 

MINSK, Jul 22 - PrimePress. Belarus Cloud Technologies JV (beCloud, infrastructural operator) plans to launch the second module of the Republican Data Processing Centre (RDPC) in the fourth quarter of 2020, the operator reports.

 

The RDPC is comprised of four computer rooms, 156 racks each. After the commissioning of the second computer room, the total number of RDPC server racks will reach 312, increasing the data centre capacity.

 

The data centre is built by the Prefabricated technology (modular system). The technological equipment is assembled and tested at the manufacturing plant, after which it is transported to the customer’s site for final assembly. At present, the assembly of the components of the second module supplied by the Croatian plant of Vertiv Corporation is being assembled at the RDPC site.

 

The RDPC received the TIER III Design certificate (compliance of the design documentation with the TIER III level of reliability and fault tolerance) for all four phases of the data center construction.

 

Investments in the construction of the first two modules and the cloud total over $30 million.

 

Belarus Cloud Technologies JV (beCloud) was established in 2012, with a 51% held by the National Traffic Exchange Centre. In December 2015, beCloud launched its LTE Advanced network (4G) in Minsk. beCloud stands behind 4 infrastructural projects in Belarus: the national datacom network, the national data processing centre, the cloud platform, and the LTE Advanced network. End

 

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