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  Belarus registers 67,251 coronavirus cases, 538 deaths as of Jul 27, 2020

Belarus registers 67,251 coronavirus cases, 538 deaths as of Jul 27, 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 27 - PrimePress. Belarus registered 67,251 confirmed coronavirus cases as of July 27, 2020; 538 people died, Belarus’ Health Ministry reports on its official Telegram channel.

 

60,492 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.

 

As previously reported, the number of registered coronavirus cases in Belarus reached 67,132 on the previous day; 534 patients died.

 

The Health Ministry reports over 1.25 million tests for the coronavirus infection as of July 27, 2020. End

 

 

Belarus expects to harvest 9.5m tonnes of grain in 2020 – Lukashenko

 

MINSK, Jul 27 - PrimePress. Belarus expects to harvest 9.5 million tonnes of grain in 2020, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said during his visit to the Nesvizh District (Minsk Oblast) on July 27, 2020, the presidential press office reports.

 

“When we say that we are to harvest 8 million tonnes of grain, we should specify that this is about spiked grains. We should add 1.5 million tonnes of corn to this figure to the total of at least 9.5 million tonnes of grain this year,” Lukashenko said.

 

According to Minister of Agriculture and Food Ivan Krupko, grain and legumes have been harvested from about 19% of the area under crops, the yield standing at 37.6 centners per hectare.

 

“This yield suggests that we can harvest 8.1 million tonnes of grain plus 1.5 million tonnes of spiked grains. We are finishing harvesting rapeseed–89% so far–and 4 to 5 days have left,” the minister said.

 

Belarus had harvested over 9 million tonnes of grain in 2008, 2009 and 2014 (7.33 million tonnes in 2019). End

 

 

CEC reports number of voters in presidential election in Belarus

 

MINSK, Jul 27 - PrimePress. Over 6.8 million voters can take part in the 2020 presidential election in Belarus; 5,319 will be able to vote outside the country, the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Belarus reports on its official website.

 

According to the CEC, Belarus numbers a total of 6,844,932 legitimate voters: 984,601 in the Brest Oblast; 849,472 in the Vitebsk Oblast; 1,069,567 in the Gomel Oblast; 751,084 in the Grodno Oblast; 1,142,043 in the Minsk Oblast; 801,825 in the Mogilev Oblast; 1,241,021 in Minsk city.

 

Belarus has arranged 5,767 polling stations, including 44 outside the country in Belarusian embassies and consulates general in 36 countries.

 

As previously reported, on July 14, 2020, the CEC registered Andrei Dmitriyev, Anna Kanopatskaya, Alexander Lukashenko, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and Sergei Cherechen as candidates for the presidency of Belarus. The presidential election is scheduled for August 9. Early voting will begin on August 4. The results of the election must be announced on or before August 19. The second round, if necessary, will take place on August 23, 2020. End

 

 

Fitch forecasts Belarus’ net external debt growth in 2020 to 42% of GDP

 

MINSK, Jul 27 - PrimePress. Fitch Ratings forecasts Belarus’ net external debt growth by the end of 2020 to 42% of GDP, reads the Fitch report on the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Black Sea Region.

 

According to the Ministry of Finance of Belarus, the external debt of the public administration sector (including the external debt guaranteed by the public administration sector) made up 32.7% of GDP as of May 1, 2020.

 

Fitch says that continuous access to finance is key for Belarus, considering the large amount to be allocated for debt repayment in 2021. Belarus’ need for financing is expected to remain high, since the country is to pay $3.4 billion on the debt in foreign exchange in 2021.

 

Belarus will pay 4.5% of GDP in 2020 and 7.1% of GDP in 2021 on external debts, which is one of the region’s highest rates.

 

According to Fitch, the flexibility of short-term financing in Belarus is ensured, among other things, by the availability of foreign exchange cash resources and potential bilateral financing from China. However, China’s inputs have not made a big change in most countries of the region except for Belarus, which received $500 million in 2019 and is negotiating further borrowing.

 

Fitch experts say that access to international markets remains limited for the regional economies. Belarus was the first to return to the Eurobond market in June 2020, placing $1.25 billion in bonds. Belarus has also floated government bonds worth $135 million in Russia, and may issue additional $135 million later this year.

 

Fitch Ratings expects the region’s economy to contract by an average of 4.4% in 2020, while Belarus’ GDP will decline by 5%. End

 

 

EEU continues drafting legal framework of common financial market

 

MINSK, Jul 27 - PrimePress. The concept of a common financial market of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) was examined at a session of the advisory committee on financial markets of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Board chaired by Timur Zhaksylykov, Minister for Economy and Financial Policy of the Commission, the EEC press office reports.

 

The concept defines the legal framework for the common financial services market, key infrastructure areas and tools for its expansion and further development.

 

The concept envisages standardized licensing to ensure mutual admission (commercial presence) in the form of subsidiaries of banks and insurance companies as providers of financial services.

 

Authorized representatives of the parties assessed the progress reached in drafting an agreement on a standardized license, which will determine the procedure and terms for issuing and revoking (suspending) a standardized license, requirements to applicants, and a procedure for a revision of such requirements.

 

The EEU is also working on an agreement on a supranational body that will regulate the common financial market of the EEU. Its establishment is determined by the agreement on the EEU and the concept of the common financial market.

 

“In accordance with the agreement on the harmonization of the legislation of the Eurasian Economic Union member states pertinent to the financial market, which entered into force on March 1, 2020, the member states are to make a plan jointly with the EEC for the harmonization of the financial legislation of the EEU member states within nine months,” said Zhaksylykov.

 

The EEC coordinated the plan for harmonizing the legislation of the EEU member states in the financial sector (for banks, insurance companies and providers of services in the securities market). The EEC Board will examine the plan in October 2020.

 

The Commission says the harmonization of requirements for the regulation of the financial market will base on the international principles of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, International Association of Insurance Supervisors, International Organization of Securities Commissions and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, taking into account best international practices. End

 

 

Belarus awaits management proposals from Russian owners of Belgazprombank – NBB

 

MINSK, Jul 27 - PrimePress. Belarus invites the Russian owners of Belgazprombank (Gazprom PJSC and Gazprombank JSC) to make proposals for managing the bank, Chairman of the Board of the National Bank of Belarus (NBB) Pavel Kallaur said in the interview with ONT TV channel aired on July 25.

 

“The parties are considering further actions in this situation. We are waiting for proposals from Russia to update the composition of the board,” Kallaur said.

 

When asked about Belgazprombank’s future in the Belarusian market, he said that “the bank’s future could be jointly decided upon deliberation.”

 

Kallaur says the Russian owners of Belgazprombank were sensitive the most when the NBB proposed first time to think about the composition of the Belgazprombank Board.

 

“This decision was in force several days, and then we revoked it. The appointment of an interim administration was an emergency solution,” Kallaur said.

 

The interim administration was appointed to Belgazprombank on June 15, 2020 by resolution No.192 of the National Bank of Belarus of June 14, 2020. The Financial Investigations Department of the State Control Committee of Belarus searched the bank’s office on June 11 as part of the criminal case on tax evasion, and detained 20 persons, including, according to some sources, two deputy chairs of the Board. Primary shareholders (Russian Gazprom and Gazprombank) called the actions of the National Bank and Belarus’ law enforcement illegal and refused to cooperate with the interim administration.

 

For two decades, Belgazprombank was headed by Viktor Babariko, who attempted to run for president in the election scheduled for August 9. Babariko was detained on June 18. He said that no complaints had been filed against the bank and related companies. He believes the actions of the authorities are politically motivated.

 

Belgazprombank OJSC was established in 1990 as an authorized bank of Gazprom Group in Belarus. Russian Gazprom PJSC and Gazprombank JSC own 49.66% stake in Belgazprombank each; Gazprom Transgaz Belarus – 0.49%; the Republic of Belarus represented by the Ministry of Energy of Belarus – 0.097%. Belgazprombank is assigned to the system significance Group I. End

 

 

Monday forex session: ruble down 0.04% against dollar to Br2.3889/$1

 

MINSK, Jul 27 - 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 Br2.3889/$1 to the dollar on Jul 27, down 0.04% on the previous day of trading, says the BCSE official report.

 

Following the bidding at the single forex session on Monday, the ruble stood at Br2.7949/€1 to the euro, down 0.86%; at Br3.3391/RUB100 to the Russian ruble, up 0.02%.

 

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

 

 

First power unit of Belarus’ NPP to be fully put into commercial operation in 2021 – Energy Ministry

 

MINSK, Jul 27 - PrimePress. Installation and start-up works required for the physical launch of the first power unit of the Belarusian nuclear power plant (Astravyets District, Grodno Oblast) are nearing completion. The NPP is expected to be put into full commercial operation in the first quarter of 2021, says Minister of Energy of Belarus Viktor Karankevich.

 

“At this stage, 163 assemblies with nuclear fuel will be loaded into the reactor,” the minister said in an interview with SB Belarus Today daily published on July 25.

 

“Startup and commissioning operations are being completed. This is required for the physical launch of the first unit. At this stage, 163 fuel rod arrays will be placed into the reactor and the reactor unit will gradually reach the design capacity. The reactor power startup will begin after that. The first kilowatt-hours of electricity will be supplied to the national power grid. Test operation will follow. The unit is supposed to be fully commissioned in the first quarter of 2021,” the minister said.

 

Meanwhile, works continue to integrate the NPP into the national power grid. Rapid-response energy sources that will serve as backup or will be used during peak hours with the total output capacity of 800 MW are being commissioned together with electric boilers of heating plants, 916 MW in the total capacity; 1,700 km of high-voltage power lines have been constructed or reconstructed to deliver electricity from the NPP to any part of the country.

 

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, Russia consider reprocessing of Astravyets NPP’s spent nuclear fuel – Karankevich

 

MINSK, Jul 27 - PrimePress. Belarus and Russia are working on an intergovernmental agreement on the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from the Belarusian nuclear power plant (Astravyets District, Grodno Oblast), says Minister of Energy of Belarus Viktor Karankevich.

 

“A separate intergovernmental agreement will establish specific terms for cooperation with our Russian partners in this area. Safety has been and remains a paramount priority,” the minister said in an interview with SB Belarus Today daily published on July 25SB.

 

The Ministry of Energy said earlier that Belarus and Russia were planning on entering into an intergovernmental agreement on the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel from the Belarusian NPP this year. Deputy Energy Minister of Belarus Mikhail Mikhadyuk said in February 2020 that Belarus had received a Russian draft.

 

As previously reported, resolution No.558 of the government of Belarus dated August 22, 2019 approved a spent nuclear fuel treatment strategy, according to which Belarus is going to spend up to $3.5 billion on the treatment of nuclear fuel used by the Belarusian NPP.

 

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’ crude oil output up 0.8% in Jan-Jun 2020 to 843,668 tonnes

 

MINSK, Jul 27 - PrimePress. Belorusneft (Rechitsa, Gomel Oblast)–Belarus’ sole producer of crude oil–says its crude output increased 0.8% year on year in January-June 2020 to 843,668 tonnes.

 

Hydraulic extraction increased in Jan-Jun 2020 by 2.8% year on year to 106.715 tonnes, extraction from new wells and lateral holes was down 3.2% to 45,263 tonnes.

 

According to official statistics, Belarus reduced the export of domestically produced oil in Jan-May by 34.6% year on year to 230,000 tonnes. In value terms, the export decreased by 44.4% yoy to $42.552 million due to a decrease in supplies and in the average export price, which stood at $185 per tonne against $455.839 in Jan-May 2019.

 

Belarus suspended the export of domestically produced oil in January-March 2020, supplying the entire volume to its refineries (Mozyr Oil Refinery OJSC, Gomel Oblast, and Naftan OJSC, Novopolotsk, Vitebsk Oblast), which only utilized a half of their capacities at that time, as, since late 2019, Belarus had no contracts for 2020 with major Russian suppliers due to price disagreements. Belarus resumed the export of its oil in April 2020.

 

Belarus plans to increase oil output by 1.18% against 2019 to 1.7 million tonnes in 2020.

 

Belorusneft was founded in 1966. The company specializes in exploration works, oil extraction, gas processing, and offers a wide range of seismic exploration operations.

Belorusneft provides oil extraction services in Russia, Ukraine, Venezuela and Ecuador, facilitates crude supplies to the Belarusian oil refineries on a give-and-take basis. Belorusneft sells oil products through its own chain of refilling stations and trading companies, and is engaged in the oil product export. End

 

 

Belarus’ meat output up 5.6% in Jan-Jun 2020 to 534,600 tonnes

 

MINSK, Jul 27 - PrimePress. Belarus’ output meat and edible offal increased in January-June 2020 by 5.6% year on year to 534,600 tonnes, the National Statistics Committee of Belarus (Belstat) said in an official report.

 

Beef output in Jan-Jun 2020 increased by 11.7% to 119,400 tonnes; pork – up 5.3% to 118,400 tonnes; poultry meat – up 3.1% to 259,900 tonnes; sausages – down 0.1% to 125,200 tonnes.

 

Output of finished and canned pork products was up 7.9% to 16,547 tonnes; finished and canned beef products – down 6.7% to 5,472 tonnes.

 

Meat and edible offal inventories totalled 18,900 tonnes as of Jul 1, 2020 (21.4% of average monthly output), including beef – 2,900 tonnes (14.9%); pork – 2,600 tonnes (13.7%); poultry meat – 10,600 tonnes (24.5%); sausages – 2,200 tonnes (11.4%), finished and canned pork products – 1,156 tonnes (42%); finished and canned beef products – 970 tonnes (106.4%). End

 

 

NBB’s currency rates as of Jul 28, 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 27 - PrimePress. The National Bank of Belarus (NBB) set on Jul 27, 2020 the following exchange rates of the Belarusian ruble (Br) against foreign currencies for Jul 28, 2020.

 

 

Currency

 

Br

1

AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR

AUD

1.7038

1

BULGARIAN LEV

BGN

1.4299

100

UKRANIAN HRYVNA

UAH

8.6118

10

DANISH KRONE

DKK

3.7571

1

U.S. DOLLAR

USD

2.3889

1

EURO

EUR

2.7949

10

POLISH ZŁOTY

PLN

6.3540

10,0000

IRANIAN RIAL

IRR

5.6879

100

ICELAND KRONA

ISK

1.7678

100

JAPANESE YEN

JPY

2.2677

1

CANADIAN DOLLAR

CAD

1.7857

10

CHINESE YUAN

CNY

3.4110

1

KUWAITI DINAR

KWD

7.8030

10

Moldovan Leu

MDL

1.4220

1

New Zealand Dollar

NZD

1.5935

10

NORWEGIAN KRONE

NOK

2.6243

100

RUSSIAN RUBLE

RUB

3.3391

1

SDR (Special Drawing Rights)

XDR

3.3364

1

SINGAPORE DOLLAR

SGD

1.7322

100

KIRGHIZ SOM

KGS

3.1150

1,000

KAZAKH TENGE

KZT

5.7587

10

TURKISH LIRAS

TRY

3.4882

1

BRITISH POUND STERLING

GBP

3.0688

100

CZECH KORUNA

CZK

10.6733

10

SWEDISH KRONA

SEK

2.7249

1

SWISS FRANK

CHF

2.5961

 

 

July 24, 2020

 

 

Lukashenko to deliver annual address to nation, parliament Aug 3

 

MINSK, Jul 24 - PrimePress. President Alexander Lukashenko will deliver his annual address to the Belarusian people and the National Assembly, the National Legal Internet Portal said in a release.

 

In accordance with ordinance #294 signed by President Lukashenko on July 24, 2020, the third extraordinary session of the House of Representatives and the Council of the Republic (the lower and the upper chambers of the Belarusian parliament, respectively) will convene in Minsk on Aug 3, 2020 to eyewitness the president’s annual message of the nation and the parliament and consider other issues. End

 

 

Lukashenko suspends automatic system for fulfilling obligations till late 2020

 

MINSK, 24 Jul - PrimePress. The indisputable recovery of funds from payers’ bank accounts on the basis of enforcement inscriptions till the end of 2020 may be carried out only by enforcement authorities within the framework of enforcement proceedings.

 

The automatic system for fulfilling obligations has been suspended in accordance with presidential ordinance #291 “On fulfilment of monetary obligations” of July 23, 2020, as reported by Lukashenko’s press service.

 

The automated information system for fulfilling monetary obligations started operating in Belarus on January 1, 2020. Thus, the presidential ordinance suspends the system till the end of the year. End

 

 

IBRD to lend Belarus €90m to fight coronavirus aftermath

 

MINSK, Jul 24 - PrimePress. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) will provide Belarus €90 million in credit financing to combat the COVID-19 epidemic in the country. This is one of the provisions of the credit agreement between the IBRD and the Belarusian government, which was approved by the President of Belarus and formalized by ordinance #292 of July 23, 2020.

 

The agreement provides for an IBRD loan of €90 million to Belarus’ Republican Scientific and Practical Centre for Medical Technology, Informatization, Healthcare Management and Economics. The funds will be used to purchase equipment for intensive care and resuscitation departments, equipment for the ambulance service, as well as 20 computerized tomographs, test systems for diagnosis of infection, personal protective equipment and medicines.

 

In particular, for the intensive care and resuscitation departments they will purchase 460 lung ventilators, 350 anesthesia and respiratory apparatuses, 200 CPAP-therapy devices, 800 patient monitors, 30 mobile X-ray units, 22 units for substitutive renal therapy.

 

They also plan to purchase 50 mobile intensive care unit, mobile lung ventilators, modular monitor defibrillators and transport boxes for the ambulance service.

 

The ordinance defines the specifics of the special account to be opened with Belinvestbank for transferring the credit funds. Separate tax and customs preferences have been established for executors of the measures stipulated by the agreement, as well as the grounds for applying such preferences.

 

“The agreement will make it possible to attract additional funds for a range of measures to prevent, diagnose and treat coronavirus infection, as well as to strengthen the material and technical base of healthcare institutions and improve the quality of medical care.”

 

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

 

 

Belarus registers 66,846 coronavirus cases as of Jul 24, 524 dead

 

MINSK, Jul 24 - PrimePress. Belarus registered 66,846 coronavirus cases as of July 24, 2020, 524 people died, the Health Ministry of Belarus reports on its official Telegram channel.

 

59,755 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.

 

Yesterday, the ministry reported about 66,688 registered coronavirus cases and 519 coronavirus-related deaths in Belarus.

 

The Health Ministry reports over 1.23 million tests for the coronavirus infection as of July 24, 2020. End

 

 

Belarus sees sharp decline in interbank credit market rates in July

 

MINSK, 24 Jul - PrimePress. The rates for overnight interbank loans fell sharply in July 2020 after the National Bank of Belarus (NBB) decided not to withdraw liquidity from the banking system in the period from June 30 to September 15, 2020.

 

According to the NBB website, the rate for interbank loans was 3.64% on July 22, 2020 against 7.87% on the last day of June.

 

The average rate for overnight loans in the interbank market usually most accurately reflects the cost of borrowing in the economy and is close to the refinancing rate. The refinancing rate is currently 7.75%.

 

The interbank credit rate in July was also much lower than the inflation rate. In June, the inflation rate in Belarus was 5.2% per annum.

 

The National Bank of Belarus explained the decision to suspend the withdrawal of liquidity from banks by the need to activate the interbank credit market.

 

It is obvious that such a decision encourages banks to lower interest rates for loans, which is exactly what Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko insists upon.

 

On June 19, at a meeting on measures to support the real sector, Lukashenko said that all instruments to replenish the resource base of banks should be used: deposit auctions of the Ministry of Finance, the NBB should loosen the reserve requirements to maintain liquidity, as well as the profit of the banking system. Lukashenko demanded that the replenished resource base should be used for crediting enterprises. End

 

 

 

Belarus to sign lease/loan facilitation agreements to increase exports to Russia, Ukraine

 

MINSK, 24 Jul - PrimePress. The Government of Belarus will sign lease agreements with Russia’s Alfamobil, Gazprombank Autoleasing, Gazprombank Leasing, House of Leasing, UralBusinessLeasing, ASB RusLeasing on the terms of delivery of Belarusian goods.

 

The Council of Ministers of Belarus adopted a resolution to this effect on July 22, 2020.

 

The resolution also approves a draft agreement with Ukraine’s Privatbank on the terms and conditions of granting loans for the purchase of Belarusian goods in Ukraine.

 

The banks’ remuneration shall not exceed 0.02% of the amount to be compensated by the Republic of Belarus from the public budget.

 

Similar agreements were signed earlier with a wide range of foreign leasing companies and banks. Belarus will compensate foreign buyers at the expense of the state budget part of the leasing payments under the leasing agreements, credit interest payments will be partly compensated for, and so will be the remuneration for post-financing of letters of credit. The list of producers and goods for preferential treatment is approved by the government. End

 

 

Friday forex session: ruble down 0.17% against dollar to Br2.3898/$1

 

MINSK, Jul 24 - PrimePress. Following the bidding at the single forex session of the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange (BCSE) in the format of a continuous two-way auction, the Belarusian ruble stood at Br2.3898/$1 to the dollar on July 24, down 0.17% on the previous day of trading, says the BCSE official report.

 

Following the bidding at the single forex session on Friday, the ruble stood at Br2.7711/€1 to the euro, down 0.31%; at Br3.3399/RUB100 to the Russian ruble, up 0.64%.

 

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’ average wage up 1.7% in June 2020 to Br1,248.9

 

MINSK, Jul 24 - PrimePress. Belarus’ average wage in nominal terms stood at 1,248.9 Belarusian rubles (Br) in June 2020, or U.S. $523.5 at the monthly average rate of the National Bank, up 1.7% month on month, the National Statistics Committee (Belstat) said in a report.

 

In real terms (adjusted for the increase in consumer prices), the average monthly wage grew by 9.4% year on year in June 2020.

 

Regionally, June’s highest average salary was Minsk City at Вr1,748.6 ($733), down 1.3% month on month; the lowest average salary in June was seen in Mogilev Oblast at Br1,033.5 ($433.2), up 4% month on month.

 

In June 2020, the average wage in manufacturing industries stood at Br1,262.3 ($529.1), up 3.1% month on month; construction – Br1,426.6 ($598), up 6.2%; forestry, fishery and agriculture – Br921.8 ($386.4), up 2.7%; retail trade – Br1,003 ($420.4), up 2.6%; education – Br925.2  ($387.8) up 5.2%; healthcare – Br1,245.4 ($522), up 2.7%.

 

To compare, the average monthly wage in Belarus’ IT industry in June 2020 stood at Br4,848 ($2,032), down 14.5% month on month; banking and finance – Br1,842 ($772.1), down 1.2%. End (Br2.3857/$1)

 

 

Belarus govt preps new programme to stimulate electricity consumption

 

MINSK, Jul 24 - PrimePress. The government is preparing a new programme to increase electricity consumption amid the forthcoming launch of the Belarussian nuclear power plant (BelNPP, Astravyets, Grodno Oblast). According to the press service of the government, Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Vladimir Kukharev shared the details of the programme with reporters.

 

“Increasing electricity consumption is a very important issue for the country. We will have a large amount of electricity in connection with the launch of the nuclear power plant. So now a policy document is being prepared, which covers all areas and sectors to increase electricity consumption,” said Kukharev.

 

According to the deputy premier, the programme contains a separate chapter dealing with district heating, and heating solutions for single-family houses and summer houses.

 

“The programme will indicate approaches, specific terms, financing, so that in the shortest possible time each applicant could get a sufficient amount of electricity for heating their homes,” explained Kukharev.

 

In his words, starting next year, the authorities may choose to double the volume of housing under construction with electric heating.

 

BelNPP is expected to reach its design capacity in 2023. It will produce 18.5 billion kWh of electricity per year, which will account for 42.8% of the country’s (gross) electricity consumption, which is expected at 43.2 billion kWh by that time. Electricity consumption in Belarus in 2019 amounted to 37.926 billion kWh and was fully covered by the country’s own electricity production. Thus, Belarus will have a lot of surplus electric power after the BelNPP launch. End

 

 

Belarus plans to build twice as much rental housing in 2021

 

MINSK, Jul 24 - PrimePress. The volume of rental housing construction in Belarus will double year on year in 2021 from 135 thousand square metres to 270 thousand square metres, Head of Housing Policy at the Ministry of Architecture and Construction Alexander Avramenko told  reporters on July 24.

 

“This year’s rental housing fund accounts for 3.4% of the total housing construction volume across the country. This is certainly not enough, especially since the demand for these apartments is high. For example, in Minsk City there are 150-200 people per rental apartment,” the official said.

 

He said that in the future it is planned to build rental housing not only at the expense of the state budget, as it has been so far, but also at the expense of enterprises of various forms of ownership, there is a legislative basis for this.

 

Avramenko also said that in 2021 they plan to increase the construction of houses with a maximum use of electricity. End

 

 

Proposal to resume regular air service: Belarus Transport Ministry gets no response from Russian aviation authorities

 

MINSK, Jul 24 - PrimePress. Russia has not yet responded by agreeing to the proposal of the Department of Aviation of the Ministry of Transport and Communications of Belarus to resume regular air services, says the press service of the Ministry of Transport.

 

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said July 24 that Russia would resume air service with the UK, Turkey and Tanzania from August 1.

 

In the context of the pandemic, a number of countries have taken quarantine measures and closed their borders to foreigners, and regular air and rail traffic has been suspended. Recently, traffic between different countries has been gradually resuming as the situation with the coronavirus has improved. End

 

 

Cigarette producers and importers chose not to raise cigarette prices Aug 1

 

MINSK, Jul 24 - PrimePress. Belarus’ producers and importers of cigarettes will not raise prices for certain types of cigarettes from August 1, 2020, the prices will remain at the level established on July 1, 2020. This follows from information on the maximum retail prices for filtertip cigarettes announced by excise tax payers, posted on the website of the Ministry of Taxes and Duties of Belarus.

 

Manufacturers have announced prices for cigarettes, which will be on sale in July 2020. The price of the Monte Carlo Evo Ruby Impulse brand cigarettes is set at Br2.4 Bel Bel ($1 at the rate of the National Bank of Belarus) per pack, while the price of Dove MENTHOL SLIM cigarettes - Br1.6 Bel ($0.67).

 

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

 

As reported, Belarus raised prices of some sorts of cigarettes on July 1, 2020 by 1.3-4.3%. End (Br2.3857/$1)

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