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Press Release- Embassy of Belarus : 08 July 2020

July 7, 2020

 

Belarus registers 64,003 coronavirus cases, 436 deaths as of Jul 7, 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 7 – PrimePress. Belarus registered 64,003 confirmed coronavirus cases as of July 7, 2020; 436 people died, Belarus’ Health Ministry reports on its official Telegram channel.

 

51,902 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.

 

As previously reported, the number of registered coronavirus cases in Belarus reached 63,804 on the previous day; 429 patients died.

 

The Health Ministry reports 1,078 million tests for the coronavirus infection as of July 7, 2020. End

 

 

Lukashenko promises reforms through upgrading what is already there

 

MINSK, Jul 7 – PrimePress. Reforms in Belarus imply an improvement of what is already there in education, healthcare, industry and agriculture, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said this at the meeting with Minsk functionaries on July 7, the presidential press office reports.

 

“The tasks are hard to cope with, and they cannot be fulfilled by carrying out reforms. Many are talking a lot about changes and reforms, and I have to say how I understand these reforms, and how we go along our path, reforming our life. The only reform that can take place in Belarus is an improvement of what we already have,” said Lukashenko.

 

In his opinion, the country possesses educational and technological competencies required for that.

 

“We have big tasks ahead, the tasks of great importance, which we must be coped with. Reforms mean that we will improve and expand what we are capable of doing, creating new industries. Reforms are the order of the day, but only as an improvement of what we have,” he said. End

 

 

Belarus’ gold, FX reserves up 11.6% in Jun 2020 to $8.796bn

 

MINSK, Apr 7 – PrimePress. Belarus’ gold and foreign exchange reserves calculated in accordance with methods of the International Monetary Fund totalled $8.796 billion as of July 1, 2020, being up 11.6% in June 2020, says the Information and PR Department of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus.

 

“The reserves increased in June primarily thanks to the placement of Eurobonds by the Ministry of Finance, and a rise in the value of monetary gold,” reads the report.

 

As previously reported, Belarus completed the placement of two Eurobond issues worth a total of $1.25 billion on June 24, 2020. Bonds worth $500 million will mature in February 2026, the yield being 5.875% per annum; bonds worth $750 million will mature in February 2031, the yield being 6.378% per annum.

 

In June 2020, the government and the National Bank of Belarus paid off $287 million under foreign and domestic liabilities in foreign exchange.

 

Reserve assets in the form of monetary gold increased in June 2020 by 2.3% to $2.8 billion; in the form of special drawing rights – increased by 0.9% to $513 million; in foreign exchange – decreased by 5.3% to $4.216 billion. Other reserve assets grew 7-fold in June to $1.267 billion.

 

The international reserve assets of Belarus, calculated according to the IMF methodology, decreased in January-June 2020 by 6.4%.

 

Reserve assets in the form of monetary gold increased in January-June 2020 by 17.3%; in the form of special drawing rights – down 0.2%; in foreign exchange – down 24.1%. Other reserve assets increased by 35.4% in January-June 2020.

 

In accordance with the 2020 guidelines for Belarus’ monetary management policy, Belarus’ gold and foreign exchange reserves are supposed to reach at least $7.3 billion as of Jan 1, 2021.

 

Belarus’ international reserves calculated in accordance with methods of the International Monetary Fund stood at U.S. $9.394bn as of Jan 1, 2020; $7.158 billion as of Jan 1, 2019; at $7.315bn as of Jan 1, 2018; $4.927bn as of Jan 1, 2017; $4.176bn as of Jan 1, 2016; $5.059bn as of Jan 1, 2015; $6.651bn as of Jan 1, 2014; $8.095bn as of Jan 1, 2013. End

 

 

Belarus’ govt forbids indebted organizations to raise wage rates – resolution

 

MINSK, Jul 7 – PrimePress. The government of Belarus has prohibited raising wage rates (standard salaries) to employees of organizations (regardless of proprietary form) that have arrears in payments to the national budget and state target budget funds, as per Council of Ministers’ resolution No.400 of July 4, 2020 posted on the National Legal Internet Portal on July 7.

 

An increase in wage rates (standard salaries) is only possible once the debts have been discharged.

 

This does not apply to public sector and other subsidized entities, employees of which are equated to employees of public sector organizations in terms of remuneration of labour, as well as organizations that are officially granted a deferment (installment) for settling arrears of payments to the budget provided that current payments to the budget are carried out in a timely manner.

 

The decision comes into force upon its official publication. End

 

 

Belarus simplifies procedures for issuing visas to foreigners

 

MINSK, Jul 7 – PrimePress. The government of Belarus has simplified the procedures for issuing visas to foreign nationals, reads a comment by Arzinger & Partners law firm on Council of Ministers’ resolution No.364 of June 24, 2020, which introduces a new version of Belarus’ visa regulations.

 

The changes are aimed at simplifying the procedure for issuing and obtaining Belarusian visas, which facilitates operations conducted by foreign nationals in the territory of the Republic of Belarus.

 

The new version of the visa regulations introduces the concept of ‘service provider’: an individual or legal entity that provides intermediary services in obtaining documents for reception of entry visas for their subsequent transfer to foreign agencies. Accordingly, visa applications may be now submitted by a service provider instead of an applicant personally.

 

The maximum validity period of a type D long-stay visa is set at five years. Such visa can be issued to a foreigner who already had at least one long-term visa for business travel, sports, culture, science, study, humanitarian aid or for private purposes in the previous three years.

 

The legal or natural person, who has visa support documents for issuing an entry visa to a foreign national, has the right to send a written request for its cancellation to the body that issued the visa. If the reasons for the cancellation are recognized as valid, the applicant must notify the foreigner of the withdrawal of the visa application and the cancellation of the visa.

 

The new visa regulations do not contain a provision on the mandatory presence of an insurance policy in visa support documents that guarantees reimbursement to state healthcare organizations and state medical scientific organizations for the cost of the emergency medical care they provide.

 

The visa issue procedure has also changed. It regulates the use of the Consul automated system introduced by presidential ordinance No.302 of August 8, 2016, which contains information on consular acts and other reference and analytical information regarding consular activities.

 

The resolution and the new version of the visa regulations enter into force on July 1, 2020. End

 

 

Tuesday forex session: ruble down 0.44% against dollar to Br2.4440/$1

 

MINSK, Jul 7 – 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 Br2.4440/$1 to the dollar on Jul 7, down 0.44% 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 Br2.7572/€1 to the euro, down 0.29%; at Br3.3882/RUB100 to the Russian ruble, up 0.40%.

 

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’ LPG supplies to Ukraine down 14% in Jun 2020 to 31,400 tonnes

 

MINSK, Jul 7 – PrimePress. Belarus reduced supplies of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to Ukraine in June 2020 by 14% month on month to 31,400 tonnes. Belarusian Oil Company CJSC and Belorusneft State Production Association reduced supplies by 30% to 18,000 tonnes, A-95 Consulting Group (Ukraine) reports.

 

According to A-95, this decrease may be associated with an increase in the LPG import from Russia in June 2020 by 20% month on month to 69,000 tonnes. Transit deliveries of Russian LPG through the terminals of Mogilev and Vitebsk also increased in June 2020 by 27% from May 2020 to 13,400 tonnes.

 

Ukraine increased its LPG import in June 2020 by 24% month on month to 161,000 tonnes.

 

As previously reported, the LPG consumption in Ukraine increased in 2019 by 11.1% year on year to 2.03 million tonnes. End

 

 

Belarus reduces number of organizers of national exhibitions abroad – ordinance

 

MINSK, Jul 7 – PrimePress. The government of Belarus has reduced the number of organizers of national exhibitions abroad, expecting a report on the achievement of the goals set (Council of Ministers’ resolution No.380 of June 29, 2020 posted on the National Legal Internet Portal on July 6).

 

The resolution establishes the target nature of national exhibitions (expositions). National exhibitions are to pursue the following objectives: promote export-oriented commodities (works, services) on traditional and new foreign markets, expand the range and increase the volume of Belarusian exports, diversify supplies of Belarusian commodities (works, services) geographically and industry-wise, find partners and take new niches in promising markets, including countries outside the CIS, showcase innovative achievements, investment and export capacity of the Belarusian economy, enhance the positive image of Belarusian exporters and popularize Belarusian brands, expand trade and economic relations and investment cooperation with countries and regional alliances.

 

The resolution defines more precisely the functions of persons engaged in the organization of national exhibitions (coordinator, organizer, co-organizer, exhibitor and operator); considerably extends the deadlines for reporting from two weeks to 1.5 months after the end of the exhibition, and specifies the details to be reported, such as associated events, amounts of contracts signed, and costs incurred to hold exhibitions. End

 

 

Belarus limits developers’ profit margin in buyer-funded construction to 5% – ordinance

 

MINSK, Jul 7 – PrimePress. The profit margin of developers running buyer-funded housing construction projects will be limited to 5% of estimated costs in current prices from January 2021 unless otherwise is stipulated by the president, as per presidential ordinance No.247 of July 2, 2020 posted on the National Legal Internet Portal on July 7.

 

In accordance with the ordinance, developers (customers) are to conduct audits of compliance with the profit margin at their own expense within three months upon commissioning. Copies of audit report will be submitted to local executive and administrative authorities that issued construction permits.

 

In the event that an excess of 5% of profit is detected during the audit, overpaid funds will be returned to the buyer within a month after the submission of the audit report.

 

The pre-emptive right to build multi-apartment residential buildings will be given to construction organizations that possess their own technical base and specialists, as well as communal unitary enterprises engaged in capital construction.

 

The ordinance does not apply to the buildings constructed with permits or under investment and design and construction contracts that came into force prior to this ordinance.

 

The ordinance takes effect six months after its official publication. End

 

 

MART reduces list of socially important commodities

 

MINSK, Jul 7 – PrimePress. The Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of Belarus (MART) has reduced the list of socially important commodities, the prices of which are subject to temporary regulation for up to 90 days since April 17, 2020 (MART resolution No.45 of June 23, 2020 posted on the National Legal Internet Portal on July 7).

 

This is done considering stabilization of the consumer market of Belarus. Price regulation is only maintained with respect to socially important foods. Approaches to the regulation of prices and wholesale and trade markups remain unchanged, MART says.

 

Resolution No.45 removes coffee, canned meat and fish, powdered milk, solid toilet and laundry soap, matches, sanitary pads, diapers (for children and adults) and toilet paper from the list of socially important commodities.

 

The updated list includes 19 items: fresh fish (cyprinids), fresh-frozen fish with or without head, gutted and ungutted (cyprinids, cods, herring, mackerel, argentine), butter, wheat flour, sunflower and rapeseed oil, table salt, white polished rice, semolina, millet, oat flakes without flavouring or other additives, dry pasta without durum wheat flour, rye and rye-wheat bread, wheat bread, wheat flour bakery products (loaves), meat (beef, pork, chicken and broiler chicken), cuts and large-sized semi-finished products, cooked sausages, fresh chicken eggs, pasteurized cow milk, kefir from cow milk, sour cream, cottage cheese, cheese (hard, semi-solid), baby food (dry mixes, cereals, canned), fresh vegetables (potato, beet, carrot, cabbage, onion, cucumber, tomato, apple), and black long leaf tea.

 

The decision came into force upon its official publication.

 

As previously reported, MART resolution No.30 of March 15, 2020 set the importers’ maximum allowable markup at 10%. The maximum trade markup (with the wholesale markup) to producers’ selling prices of socially important goods was set at 15-30%. It stands at 15% for milk and dairy products, 20% for bread and bakery products, sausages and canned meat, 30% for vegetables and fresh apples, 25% for chicken eggs, and 20% for butter. End

 

 

EEU to form task committee for resolution of disputes related to cross-border movement of goods

 

MINSK, Jul 7 – PrimePress. The Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) has prepared proposals for the formation of a task committee (high-level ad-hoc group) to resolve disputes related to the cross-border movement of goods in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), the EEC press office reports.

 

The EEC Board examined the draft resolution on July 6, 2020.

 

The EEC Council said earlier that new tools are needed to remove barriers in the EEU domestic market, and seconded the EEC Board’s proposal to appoint the committee.

 

The EEU member states have provided lists of candidates to the committee, but not all EEU members have submitted proposals on the roadmap. It was stated that the situation at the borders remains difficult, and decisive actions must be taken.

 

“The roadmap components need to be divided into two stages: priority measures that must be implemented now and measures for the medium term. The task committee is meant to facilitate expedited decision making and resolve many issues in real time,” says Mikhail Myasnikovich, Chairman of the EEC Board.

 

The EEC Board prioritizes measures to administer imports of commodities from third countries, information exchange between the EEU member states, identification of embargoed commodities, and approval of the risk profile and the use of navigation seals.

 

The revised draft is planned to be considered at a session of the EEC Council. End

 

 

Rosselkhoznadzor lifts restrictions on transit of Belarusian beef through Russia July 6, 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 7 – PrimePress. The Russian Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Monitoring Service (Rosselkhoznadzor) lifted on July 6, 2020 the restrictions on the transit of beef produced by several Belarusian enterprises through the Russian Federation to Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) member states, the press office of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) reports.

 

This decision was made following bilateral negotiations between the line agencies of Belarus and Russia.

 

As previously reported, Rosselkhoznadzor suspended supplies of beef produced by several Belarusian companies to Russia and its transit through Russia to EEU member states.

 

On June 30, the EEC Board defined this suspension as a barrier on the EEU domestic market and notified the Russian Federation of the need to comply with EEU rights. End

 

 

NBB’s currency rates as of Jul 8, 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 7 – PrimePress. The National Bank of Belarus (NBB) set on Jul 7, 2020 the following exchange rates of the Belarusian ruble (Br) against foreign currencies for Jul 8, 2020.

 

  Currency   Br
1 AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR AUD 1.6936
1 BULGARIAN LEV BGN 1.4088
100 UKRANIAN HRYVNA UAH 9.0828
10 DANISH KRONE DKK 3.6972
1 U.S. DOLLAR USD 2.4440
1 EURO EUR 2.7572
10 POLISH ZŁOTY PLN 6.1633
10,0000 IRANIAN RIAL IRR 5.8190
100 ICELAND KRONA ISK 1.7551
100 JAPANESE YEN JPY 2.2683
1 CANADIAN DOLLAR CAD 1.8005
10 CHINESE YUAN CNY 3.4793
1 KUWAITI DINAR KWD 7.9358
10 Moldovan Leu MDL 1.4148
1 New Zealand Dollar NZD 1.5948
10 NORWEGIAN KRONE NOK 2.5863
100 RUSSIAN RUBLE RUB 3.3882
1 SDR (Special Drawing Rights) XDR 3.3695
1 SINGAPORE DOLLAR SGD 1.7505
100 KIRGHIZ SOM KGS 3.1643
1,000 KAZAKH TENGE KZT 5.9587
10 TURKISH LIRAS TRY 3.5601
1 BRITISH POUND STERLING GBP 3.0491
100 CZECH KORUNA CZK 10.3140
10 SWEDISH KRONA SEK 2.6344
1 SWISS FRANK CHF 2.5880

 

 

July 6, 2020

 

Belarus registers 63,804 coronavirus cases, 429 deaths as of Jul 6, 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 6 – PrimePress. Belarus registered 63,804 confirmed coronavirus cases as of July 6, 2020; 429 people died, Belarus’ Health Ministry reports on its official Telegram channel.

 

51,120 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.

 

As previously reported, the number of registered coronavirus cases in Belarus reached 63,554 on the previous day; 423 patients died.

 

The Health Ministry reports 1,047 million tests for the coronavirus infection as of July 6, 2020. End

 

 

Lukashenko instructs Emergency Ministry to ensure safe operation of NPP

 

MINSK, Jul 6 – PrimePress. President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko instructed the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Belarus to ensure safe operation of the Belarusian NPP, the first power unit of which is being prepared for launch, the presidential press office reports.

 

“The units and steering bodies of the Ministry of Emergency Situations should work even more to prevent and eliminate incidents or accidents. Particular attention should be paid to the safe operation of the nuclear power plant,” Lukashenko said during the ceremony held on July 6 to confer general ranks to senior officers of the ministry and honour top of the class graduates of military schools.

 

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

 

 

Lukashenko suggests Russian Sberbank financing large-scale projects in Belarus next five years

 

MINSK, Jul 6 – PrimePress. President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko suggested Russian Sberbank PJSC financing large-scale projects in Belarus in the next five-year period. He spoke about that at a meeting with Sberbank Chairman of the Board German Gref on July 3, the presidential press office reports.

 

“We want, like in the Soviet times, to make a list of innovative facilities that we are going to put into operation in the next five-year period. And we should negotiate financing to commission them on schedule. I would like to discuss a number of such projects with you. If Sberbank is willing to participate in this, I would be glad to welcome larger volumes of your financing of our economy,” said Lukashenko.

 

“And since this banking issue has suddenly arisen [appointment of the interim administration to Belgazprombank and detention of several top managers of the bank], I begin to compare. I publicly said recently that we have Russian banks that work honestly and decently,” he said.

 

Lukashenko praised Sberbank’s activities in Belarus, its large loan portfolio and significant inputs in projects.

 

Sberbank of Russia holds 98.43% of the shares of Belarusian BPS-Sberbank OJSC, one of the largest banks in Belarus in terms of assets. Former head of the National Bank of Belarus Pyotr Prokopovich now chairs the Supervisory Board of BPS-Sberbank. End

 

 

Belarus reports $1.63bn foreign trade deficit in Jan-May 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 6 – PrimePress. Belarus’ deficit in foreign trade in commodities amounted to $1.63 billion in January-May 2020 compared with a $2.383 billion deficit in January-May 2019, says the National Statistics Committee of Belarus (Belstat).

 

Exports of commodities were down 20.5% year on year in Jan-May 2020 to $10.483 billion, imports – down 22.2% to $12.113 billion.

 

Exports of commodities to the CIS member states decreased in Jan-May 2020 by 9.6% year on year to $6.57 billion; to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) – down 5.8% to $5.268 billion; to Russia – down 6.2% to $4.958 billion.

 

Exports to countries outside the CIS dropped in Jan-May 2020 by 33.8% yoy to $3.913 billion. Export to the European Union (EU) decreased 29.2% to $1.782 billion.

 

Imports of commodities from the CIS in Jan-May 2020 was down 30.3% yoy to $6.605 billion; from the EEU members states – down 32.5% to $5.886 billion; from Russia – down 32.5% to $5.832 billion.

 

Imports of commodities from countries outside the CIS decreased in Jan-May 2020 by 9.5% year on year to $5.509 billion; imports from the EU were down 6.3% to $2.579 billion.

 

The deficit in foreign trade in commodities with the CIS in Jan-May 2020 amounted to $34.8 million against a $2.202bn deficit in Jan-May 2019. The deficit in trade with the EEU stood at $617.3m ($3.121bn in Jan-May 2019), with Russia – $874.3m ($3.357bn).

 

The deficit in foreign trade in commodities with countries outside the CIS totalled $1.596bn in Jan-May 2020 to compare with a $180.4m deficit in Jan-May 2019. The deficit in trade with the EU in Jan-May 2020 stood at $796.2m against a $232.8m deficit in Jan-May 2019.

 

In Belarus’ foreign trade turnover in Jan-May 2020, the CIS countries accounted for 58.3% (58.26% in Jan-May 2019), countries outside the CIS – 41.7% (41.74%); EEU – 49.36% (49.78%), Russia – 47.75% (48.47%), EU – 19.3% (18.33%).

 

As previously reported, Belarus’ deficit in foreign trade in commodities in in 2019 amounted to $6.405 billion. Exports decreased in 2019 by 2.9% year on year to $32.937bn; imports grew by 2.3% to $39.342 bn. End

 

 

Belarusians’ FX sales exceed FX purchases by $23.1m in Jun 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 6 – PrimePress. FX purchases by Belarus’ private households exceeded their FX sales to banks by $23.1 million in June 2020: individuals purchased from Belarusian banks $502.7 million and sold to banks $525.8 million, the National Bank of Belarus (NBB) said in an official statistical report.

 

In Jan-Jun 2020, individuals purchased from banks $2.99 billion worth of cash foreign exchange and sold to banks $3.108 billion. In Jan-Jun 2020, FX sales by Belarus’ private households exceeded their FX purchases from banks by $118 million.

 

June’s net cashless FX purchases by individuals totalled $100.9 million: gross cashless FX purchases – $273.9 million, sales – $173 million.

 

In Jan-Jun 2020, cashless FX purchases by individuals stood at $1.714bn, sales – $938.5m, margin – $775.5m.

 

In Jun 2020, net FX purchases by individuals (both cash and cashless) stood at $77.7 million, gross purchases – $776.6 million, gross sales – $698.9m.

 

In Jan-Jun 2020, FX purchases (both cash and cashless) by individuals totalled $4.705bn, FX sales – $4.046bn, margin – $659m.

 

In June 2020, Belarus’ resident companies purchased $1.805 million and sold $1.761 billion. Hence, in the corporate sector, FX purchases exceeded FX sales by $44 million.

 

In Jan-Jun 2020, FX purchases by resident companies totalled $11.013bn, FX sales – $10.213bn, margin – $800m.

 

With non-resident companies, the Jun 2020 figures stand at $14.4 million (purchases), $54.3 million (sales) and $39.9 million (margin), respectively. In Jan-Jun 2020, purchases by non-resident companies totalled $144.5m, FX sales – $409.6m, margin – $265.1m.

 

The National Bank does not post statistical reports on currency exchange transactions conducted by non-resident companies in accordance with the EEU Treaty of May 29, 2014. Hence, the official data on non-residents’ FX transactions on the domestic market are incomplete.

 

Resident banks, the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus JSC and non-bank credit and financial organizations bought in Jun 2020 at their own expense (without conversion operations) $3.33 billion, sold – $3.281 billion, margin – $490 million.

 

Their FX purchases on the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange OJSC (BCSE) in Jun 2020 totalled $716 million, sales – $583 million, margin –$133 million. Purchases on the OTC market stood at $2.09 billion, sales – $2.196 billion, margin – minus $106 million. Purchases on the cash currency market totalled $525.8 million, sales – $502.7 million, margin – $23.1 million.

 

In Jan-Jun 2020, resident banks, the Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus JSC and non-bank credit and financial organizations bought $19.852 billion, sold $20.271 billion, the margin being $419 million.

 

They bought $4.665 billion on the BCSE in Jan-Jun 2020 and sold $3.702 billion (+$963m); bought $12.08 billion on the OTC market and sold $13.579 billion (-$1.499bn); bought $3.108 billion on the cash currency market and sold $2.99 billion (+$118m).

 

As previously reported, since January 2020, the National Bank began to publish data on spot transactions of resident banks, the Development Bank and the NCFD at its own expense (without conversion operations) on the purchase and sale of foreign currency in the domestic market. This gives a more accurate picture of what is happening in the foreign exchange market. End

 

 

Belarusian banks’ profits down 15.9% in Jan-May 2020 to Br340m

 

MINSK, Jul 6 – PrimePress. Belarusian banks’ total balance sheet profit amounted to 340 million Belarusian rubles (Br) in January-May 2020, or U.S. $140.4 million at the official rate of the central bank, down 15.9% on the year, the National Bank of Belarus said in a statistical report.

 

Banks’ regulatory capital stood at Br11.273 billion ($4.656bn) as of June 1, 2020, up 1% year on year (up 6.6% from June 1, 2019).

 

Capital adequacy ratio stood at 16.9% as of Jun 1, 2020, to compare with 17.8% as of Jan 1, 2020, 18.1% as of Jun 1, 2019.

 

Return on equity of Belarusian commercial banks was at 10.1% as of Jun 1, 2020, to compare with 10.9% as of Jan 1, 2020 and 10.9% as of Jun 1, 2019.

 

Belarusian banks’ assets stood at Br86.138 billion ($35.574bn) as of Jun 1, 2020, up 16.7% year on year (up 9.9% from Jun 1, 2020).

 

Return on assets stood at 1.4% as of Jun 1, 2020 (1.5% as of Jan 1, 2020), to compare with 1.6% as of Jun 1, 2019.

 

As of Jun 1, 2020, the total value of non-performing loans (NPL) stood at Br3.695 billion ($1.526bn), up 35.5% from Jan 1, 2020, up 11.8% from Jun 1, 2019.

 

Provisions for assets exposed to credit risk grew by 18.2% in Jan-May 2020 to Br4.326 billion ($1.787bn) as of Jun 1, 2020, (up 20.8% year on year). End (Br2.4214/$1)

 

 

Belarus banks’ loan portfolio up 8.9% to Br59.614bn in Jan-May 2020

 

MINSK, Jul 6 – PrimePress. Belarusian banks’ loan portfolio stood at Br59.614 billion ($24.62 billion at the official exchange rate of the central bank) as of Jun 1, 2020, up 8.9% since early 2020, according to the National Bank of Belarus (NBB).

 

Of the total loan portfolio, loans issued in Belarusian rubles stood at Br29.632 billion ($12.238bn) as of Jun 1, 2020, up 2.3% since early 2020.

 

Belarusian banks’ FX share in the loan portfolio increased 16.4% in Jan-May 2020 to the equivalent of Br29.982 billion ($12.382bn) as of Jun 1, 2020.

 

Banks’ loan portfolio, excluding factoring, leasing and promissory notes operations, went up by 10.7% in Jan-May 2020 to Br53.752 billion ($22.199bn) as of Jun 1, 2020.

 

Loans to state-owned companies went up 11.7% since early 2020 to Br19.05 billion ($7.867bn) as of Jun 1, 2020; loans to private companies went up 14.8% since early 2020 to Br17.196 billion ($7.102bn) as of Jun 1, 2020; loans to private households increased 5.5% to Br14.935 billion ($6.168bn); non-banking loans amounted to 2.571 billion rubles ($1.062bn), up 8.7% since early 2020.

 

The share of short-term loans stood at 28.3% as of Jun 1, 2020 (28.3% as of Jan 1, 2020), while the share of long-term loans stood at 71.7% (71.7% as of Jan 1, 2020).

 

Overdue debts accounted for 0.24% of the total credit debt as of Jun 1, 2020, to compare with 0.31% as of Jan 1, 2020. Since early 2020, the share of overdue credit debts decreased by 13.9% to Br144 million ($59.47m) as of Jun 1, 2020. End (Br2.4214/$1)

 

 

Belgazprombank’s profit down 36.8% in Jan-Jun 2020 to Br18.908m

 

MINSK, Jul 6 – PrimePress. Belarusian Belgazprombank OJSC reports a 36.8% year-on-year decrease in its profit in January-June 2020 to Br18.908 million ($7.8 million at the rate of the National Bank of Belarus).

 

Belgazprombank’s net interest income was up 8.9% on the year in Jan-Jun 2020 to Br86.978 million ($35.9 million). Its net fees and commission increased 10.9% to Br40.453 million ($16.7 million); net income from operations with foreign exchange – up 80% to Br20.269 million ($8.4m); net income from operations with securities – up 170% to Br3.336 million ($1.4m).

 

Belgazprombank’s total assets decreased in Jan-Jun 2020 by 8.5% year on year to Br4.55 billion ($1.88bn). Loans to customers reduced by 2.5% to Br2.677 billion ($1.1bn); assets in securities – by 6.7% to Br1.177 billion ($486.1m); funds in other banks – by 71.4% to Br47.603 million ($19.7m); funds in the National Bank of Belarus – by 39% to Br300.679 million ($124.2m).

 

Belgazprombank’s liabilities were down 9.1% yoy in Jan-Jun 2020 to Br3.841 billion ($1.59bn); customer’s deposits – down 26.5% to Br2.284 billion ($943.3bn); funds of other banks – up 27.3% to Br1.162 billion ($479.9m); funds of the National – up 79% to Br215 million ($88.8m).

 

Shareholders’ equity reduced in Jan-Jun 2020 by 5.5% yoy to Br709.485 million ($293m). The authorized capital of the bank has not changed, standing at Br348.161 million ($143.8m).

 

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; Gazprom Transgaz Belarus – 0.49%; the Republic of Belarus represented by the Ministry of Energy of Belarus – 0.18%. Belgazprombank was assigned to the systemic significance Group I.

 

As previously reported, 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 in the criminal case of 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 runs 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. End (Br2.4214/$1)

 

 

Monday forex session: ruble up 0.49% against dollar to Br2.4332/$1

 

MINSK, Jul 6 – PrimePress. Following the bidding at the single forex session of the Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange (BCSE) in the format of a continuous two-way auction, the Belarusian ruble stood at Br2.4332/$1 to the dollar on Jul 6, up 0.49% 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 Br2.7493/€1 to the euro, up 0.67%; at Br3.4017/RUB100 to the Russian ruble, down 1%.

 

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

 

 

EEU sets unified provisional excise tax rate on tobacco products at €35 per 1,000 units in 2024

 

MINSK, Jul 6 – PrimePress. The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) sets a unified provisional excise tax rate on tobacco products (EEU FEACN 2402 20) to be sold in 2024 in the territory of the EEU member states in the national currencies in the equivalent of 35 euros per 1,000 units as per the EEU agreement on the principles of tax policy in the field of excise taxes on tobacco products posted on the national Legal Internet Portal of Belarus on July 3, 2020.

 

The provisional rate and the deviation ranges will be approved every five years, starting from 2024. In 2024, the actual excise rates may deviate from the provisional rate by no more than 20% up or down.

 

Actual excise tax rates on tobacco products are established by laws of the EEU member states, being a sum of specific and/or ad valorem parts of the excise tax.

 

The agreement stipulates that if there is reasonable economic feasibility to change the size of the indicative rate and deviation ranges, and if the exchange rates of the national currencies of the member states against the euro change by more than 15%, the Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) is entitled to decide on changes in the relevant indicators at the initiative of any of the EEU members.

 

The member states are to submit to the EEC on an annual basis information on planned excise rates for tobacco products for the next calendar (fiscal) year and information on planned excise rates in the medium and long terms (if any).

 

The agreement was signed on December 19, 2019 in St. Petersburg (Russia) and comes into force from the date of receipt by the depositary through diplomatic channels of the latter of a written notice on the implementation by the member states of the domestic procedures required for this agreement to enter into force. End

 

 

Belarus’ farm output up 4.1% yr in Jan-May 2020 to Br5.237bn 

 

MINSK, Jul 6 – PrimePress. Belarus’ farm output grew by 4.1% on the year in Jan-May 2020 to 5.237 billion Belarusian rubles ($2.163 billion at the official exchange rate), the National Statistics Committee (Belstat) said in a report.

 

Sales of fattened cattle and poultry increased by 5.4% on the year in Jan-May 2020 to 706,500 tonnes; milk sales grew 6.6% to 2.777 million tonnes, eggs – down 1.3% to 1.446 billion.

 

The value of accounts payable in the agricultural sector stood at Br8.828 billion ($3.646 billion) as of May 1, 2020, up 3.9% year on year. Overdue accounts payable totalled Br2.649 billion ($1.094 billion), down 1.7% against Jan 1, 2020.

 

Accounts receivable amounted to Br1.682 billion ($694.6 million) as of May 1, 2020, up 4.6% against Jan 1, 2020. Overdue accounts receivable totalled Br446.7 million ($184.5 million), down 0.4%.

 

The share of loss-making agricultural companies as of May 1, 2020 accounted for 10% (131) of the total number to compare with 10.5% (138) as of May 1, 2019.

 

The total net profit earned by Belarus’ agricultural companies in Jan-May 2020 stood at Br418.4 million ($172.8m), up 10.1% year on year. End (Br2.4214/$1)

 

 

July 2, 2020

 

Belarus registers 62,698 coronavirus cases as of Jul 2, 405 dead

 

MINSK, Jul 2 – PrimePress. Belarus registered 62,698 coronavirus cases as of July 2, 2020, 405 people died, the Health Ministry of Belarus reports on its official Telegram channel.

 

48,738 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals.

 

Yesterday, the ministry reported 62,424 registered coronavirus cases and 398 coronavirus-related deaths in Belarus.

 

The Health Ministry says over 1.028 million tests for the coronavirus infection have been conducted in Belarus as of July 2. End

 

 

Belarus govt sets 5% ceiling on profits of developers using cooperative housing schemes

 

MINSK, Jul 2 – PrimePress. Belarus’ authorities have adopted a regulation, which sets a ceiling of 5% of the estimated cost of construction on the profits of developers, which use equity funding schemes to finance cooperative housing projects.

 

The 5% ceiling on developers’ profits is stipulated in President Lukashenko’s ordinance #247 “On housing construction” of July 2, 2020.

 

The ordinance says that the preferential right to build apartment buildings shall be granted to construction companies with their own technical base and specialists.

 

As previously reported, in early 2019 Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko voiced the idea of limiting the profitability of developers to 5%. In early 2020, state agencies concerned prepared a relevant presidential ordinance and forwarded the document for approval to the head of state. End

 

 

Minsk should start repaying gas debt to Gazprom in order break stalemate in talks on terms of Russian gas supply to Belarus in 2021

 

MINSK, Jul 2 – PrimePress. Negotiations on the terms of Russian gas supply to Belarus in 2021 will become easier once the Belarusian side starts repaying its debt for 2020 gas supplies,  Russian Ambassador to Belarus Dmitry Mezentsev said in an online interview on July 1.

 

As previously reported, in late May 2020, Gazprom said they were ready to begin negotiations on gas supplies to Belarus from 2021 onwards as soon as the debt issue has been resolved. According to Gazprom estimates, Belarus’ debt for gas supplies stands at $165.6 million. The Energy Ministry of Belarus said earlier there was no such debt, but there was a disagreement between business entities on determining the cost of gas “taking into account its calorific value.”

 

According to the diplomat, Russia confirms that as soon as Minsk starts making payments to cover the debt, it will be much easier to start discussing next year’s price of gas.

 

Ambassador Mezentsev also informed that “a few hours ago”, Belarusian Minister of Energy Viktor Karankevich met with the head of the Ministry of Energy of Russia Alexander Novak and head of Gazprom Alexei Miller. “This conversation, of course, concerned the current agenda,” said Mezentsev.

 

Russian Ambassador in Minsk stressed the need to comply with the current contract. “The agreement has been signed, and it must be complied with. Yes, indeed, the situation on foreign markets is changing. Yes, the gas price is tied to the oil price and is subject to fluctuations. But in the strategic, long-term plan these fluctuations, in fact, are erased, because short-term contracts may show a completely different price, but these are contracts of a week or two, month, completely different volumes than the national economy and the economy of Belarus require,” he explained.

 

Earlier, President Lukashenko argued that, given the global situation, the Russian gas tariff for Belarus should be at $40-45 per 1,000 cubic metres, including logistics costs. The Energy Ministry of Belarus said it would insist on a revision of the price of Russian natural gas for Belarus in 2020, defining its “correct and fair level”. End

 

There must be more to Belarus-Russia relations than gas, oil and other goods – Ambassador

 

MINSK, Jul 2 – PrimePress. Relations between Belarus and Russia should not be limited to gas, oil and other goods, Russian Ambassador to Belarus Dmitry Mezentsev said in an online interview on July 1.

 

“I wouldn’t like us to see a dispute on gas between two countries, a dispute that affects the system of bilateral relations, a huge complex, in our own way, it’s probably thousands of issues that define our relations. I would ask both you and our fellow journalists not to bring our relations to a primitive level, not to reduce our relations to several positions – gas, oil, kefir, dairy in the broad sense, meat. If we talk like that, first of all, we will be ourselves, if we talk about journalists, show everyone that we do not have the strength to understand much deeper, systematic, strategic relations, and then there is no desire to do so. I am convinced that neither Russian nor Belarusian journalists have such a dominant position,” Prime reports citing  Mezentsev as saying.

 

As previously reported, in late May 2020, Gazprom said they were ready to begin negotiations on gas supplies to Belarus from 2021 onwards as soon as the debt issue has been resolved. According to Gazprom estimates, Belarus’ debt for gas supplies stands at $165.6 million. The Energy Ministry of Belarus said earlier there was no such debt, but there was a disagreement between business entities on determining the cost of gas “taking into account its calorific value.” End

 

 

Belarus ratifies agreement on tobacco excise tax policy in EEU states

 

MINSK, Jul 2 – PrimePress. Belarus has ratified the Agreement on the general principles of the excise tax policy on tobacco products in member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia).

 

The agreement introduces a scheme for reducing gaps between excise tax rates for cigarettes and provides for introducing an indicative rate of the excise tax, with a limited range of deviations assigned to each particular member state.

 

As previously reported, the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) approved the indicative rate of the excise tax on tobaccos at €35 per 1,000 cigarettes.

 

The indicative rate will be introduced in 2024 and will be adjusted every 5 years, with a narrowing deviation range.

 

In practice, national rates of the excise tax on cigarettes in EEU member states may deviate from the indicative rate by 20% at most.

 

The launch of the indicative tax rate was postponed from 2022 till 2024.

 

Indicative rates of excise taxes on tobaccos will be pegged to the exchange rate of the euro to the corresponding national currency of a relevant member state of the Eurasian Economic Union (used in budget planning for the next calendar year).

 

As previously reported, in accordance with President Lukashenko’s Ordinance #503 of Dec 31, 2019, the 2020 rate of the excise tax on Price Group 1 cigarettes stands at Br24.9 ($10.3). The rate of the excise tax on Price Group 2 cigarettes stands at Br 62.77. The rate of the excise tax on Price Group 3 cigarettes stands at Br71.97 ($29.7). The excise tax on non-filter cigarettes shall stand at Br19.16 ($7.9). End ($1/Br2.4243)

 

 

Belarus eager to limit participation of intermediaries in public procurement contract

 

MINSK, Jul 2 – PrimePress. Belarus’ government plans to limit the participation of intermediaries in public procurement contracts and procurement contracts of enterprises with a dominant state share. This follows from draft ordinance “On enhancing procurement procedures”.

 

The main innovation of the draft ordinance is the need to further harmonize the possibility of purchasing goods from persons who are not their producers or official sales representatives of the producer.

 

The draft decree provides that local executive committees, except for regional executive committees and Minsk City Executive Committee, will have to agree the purchase from intermediaries with a higher local executive and administrative body. Other state bodies will have to coordinate the purchase with their superiors.

 

Business companies with the state-owned share of more than 50% will have to seek approval for the purchase from intermediaries with the body that performs owner supervision. End

 

 

Belarus’ real sector reduces consumer price growth expectations – NBB survey

 

MINSK, Jul 2 – PrimePress. Belarus’ real sector has reduced expectations of consumer price growth in the next three months, reads the June business climate review by the National Bank of Belarus.

 

According to the survey, the index of expected price growth at a faster rate than at present makes 25.9% in June 2020. A month earlier it was 30.4%, to compare with 40.8% in April. In general, two thirds of respondents expect price growth in the next three months. According to the survey, the price growth slowdown index was 16.1%, while in May it was 15.6% and 10.6% in April. This indicates a small share of those who do not expect prices to keep growing.

 

The findings of the June survey indicate that the index of those who expect the growth of selling prices for manufactured products has slightly decreased compared to the data of the previous survey: 14.7% against 15.1% in May and 16.2% in April 2020. In general, price growth is expected in all sectors presented in the survey, but the largest growth is forecast for the segment of trade, car repair services, household goods and personal items, the smallest growth  is expected in the construction sector.

 

The expected change in output (works, sales, transportation services) after a sharp fall to negative values (this means the prevalence of answers with a drop in production) – in April to minus 2.3%, in May returned to the positive area – 5.3% and continued to increase in June to 11.2%. It is indicative that the areas of trade, auto repair, household goods, personal demand items and transport services show the highest level of pessimism.

 

On the whole, the economic situation in June 2020, as seen by the survey participants, is “unfavourable”, and has been so since February this year. End

 

 

Belgazprombank should quit interim administration as soon as possible – Russian Ambassador

 

MINSK, Jul 2 – PrimePress. Belgazprombank should resume normal operation as soon as possible and withdraw from the interim administration mode, Russian Ambassador to Belarus Dmitry Mezentsev said on July 1.

 

As previously reported, the National Bank of Belarus (NBB) on June 15, 2020 appointed the interim administration to Belgazprombank OJSC headed by Nadezhda Yermakova. The bank’s board was suspended for the period of the interim administration.

 

On June 11, 2020, the Financial Investigations Department of the State Control Committee of Belarus conducted searches at Belgazprombank’s head office in Minsk in the framework of criminal cases of tax evasion and money laundering. The investigators claim there was an organized criminal group in Belgazprombank to withdraw money abroad. 20 people, including top managers of the bank, were detained. Russia’s Gazprom and Gazprombank slammed ‘unlawful’ actions by the National Bank and law enforcement agencies and, would refuse to cooperate with the temporary administration of their subsidiary OAO Belgazprombank.

 

Former head of Belgazprombank Viktor Babariko, who is now considered as one of the key rivals of Alexander Lukashenko in the forthcoming presidential elections in Belarus, was detained on June 18 and still remains in custody. Babariko previously emphasized that according to the law there can be no claims against the bank and its related companies, and the actions of the authorities are a political frame-up.

 

“It is important to move away from the interim administration  management of the bank as soon as possible. It is important that the parties should reach an agreement, taking into account the opinion of both shareholders and the regulator of Belarus, on the composition of the Belgazprombank board,” Mezentsev said in an interview with TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman.

 

The diplomat emphasized that the interests of clients and shareholders should be put in the centre of attention. “It is important that the format of foreign investment protection is confirmed in the spirit and the letter of the national law. We also understand that certain image losses to one of the premium-segment banks of Belarus have become evident. It is important to publicly present the steps and measures that will restore the bank’s reputation as soon as possible, not to allow these image losses to increase,” said Mezentsev. End

 

 

Thursday forex session: ruble up 0.12% against dollar to Br2.4214/$1

 

MINSK, Jul 2 – 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 Br2.4214/$1 to the dollar on July 2, up 0.12% 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 Br2.7311/€1 to the euro, down 0.3%; at Br3.4359/RUB100 to the Russian ruble, down 0.59%.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Russia cuts oil supplies to Belarus in Jan-Jun 2020 by 44.3% to 4.646m tonnes – Central Dispatching Department

 

MINSK, Jul 2 – PrimePress. Russia reduced oil supplies to Belarus in January-June 2020 by 44.3% year on year to 4.646 million tonnes. The supply plan for this period provided for 12.867 million tonnes, says the Central Dispatch Office of the Fuel and Energy Complex of the Russian Federation.

 

In January-June 2020, 2.078 million tonnes were delivered to the Mozyr Oil Refinery OJSC (Gomel Oblast) against planned 6.409 million. Naftan OJSC (Novopolotsk, Vitebsk Oblast) received 2.567 million tonnes, the agreed plan being 6.458 million.

 

In June, Russia supplied 514,900 tonnes of oil to the Mozyr Refinery against planned 1.007 million. Naftan received 489,900 (2.002 million planned).

 

As previously reported, intergovernmental agreements stipulate supplies of 24 million tonnes of duty-free Russian oil in 2020. Since late 2019, the Belarusian refineries have been in talks with Russia’s major suppliers, but have so far failed to achieve long-term contracts due to price disagreements, and had to reduce their workload by 50% in January-June 2020.

 

In Q1 2020, Safmar Group oil companies started supplying oil to Belarus. In addition, Belarus began purchasing oil from alternative sources. In particular, this year Minsk has bought oil from Azerbaijan, Norway, Saudi Arabia and the USA.

 

In July Belarus is planning to buy 1.58 million tonnes of oil from Russian oil companies, Alexander Tishchenko, press secretary of Belneftekhim State Concern, said in late June. End

 

 

After switching to global oil prices, sales of oil products are most profitable within 500-km range around Naftan refinery

 

MINSK, Jul 2 – PrimePress. After Belarus switched to world oil prices, sales of oil products are most profitable within a 500-km range from the refinery, Naftan’s Deputy Director General for Economy and Finance Ilya Ikan said in an interview.

 

Naftan has hired a consulting company to assess the feasibility of production costs and develop a strategy to improve operational efficiency. “A third-party opinion will make it possible to analyze the level of operating costs from a different angle and get an independent assessment of them. In the short term, taking into account the transition to global prices for hydrocarbons, the volume of oil refining and the structure of petroleum products should be calculated based on the possible volume of sales of petroleum products with the highest added value, which, taking into account the cost of logistics is achieved within a range of no more than 500 km,” Ikan said in an interview published by the Belneftekhim corporate journal.

 

The official says Naftan needs to optimize costs, provide economically and technically efficient volume of oil processing, which should be calculated taking into account the demand for oil products in the domestic and neighbouring markets. End

 

 

Belarus’ current contract for potash fertilizer supply to China marks ‘price bottom’ – Uralkali chief

 

MINSK, Jul 2 – PrimePress. The value of the current Belarusian-Chinese contract for the potash fertilizer supply is an effective bottom price, reckons Director General of Russia’s Uralkali Dmitry Osipov.

 

As previously reported, the Belarusian Potash Company (BPC) reduced the price of potassium chloride exported to China by 24.1% to $220 per 1 tonne in 2020. The previous long-term contract for the supply of Belarusian potash fertilizers to China was concluded in summer 2019. In September 2018, BPC and a consortium of Chinese buyers (Sinochem, CNAMPGC, CNOOC) agreed on the supply of potassium chloride to China from June 2019 at a price of $290 per 1 ton.

 

“In the largest market – China – the price of $220 per 1 tonne was set by our former trading partners from Belarus, which we consider too low. It could have been $10-20 higher. Given the specific natures of the industry and the amount of investment that manufacturers pour into capacity development, they are interested in keeping the bottom price as high as possible. Unfortunately, in the current market conditions we have to state that the current price of the Chinese contract is the “price bottom”. And yes, there are companies in the potash industry for which the price of $220 per tonne is critical,” Osipov told the Russian newspaper Kommersant on July 2.

 

In his words, Uralkali is negotiating with China. “We have merchandise that we delivered to China in late 2019, but there was no contract then. The Chinese consumers did not buy it up. In 2020, we will sell this volume,” Osipov said. He said this stockpile is as large as “several hundred thousand tonnes”.

 

“Despite the absence of a contract for deliveries by sea, we did not stop shipments by rail. And that’s about 1m tonnes, which will be dispatched anyway. Of that amount we have already sold 800 thousand tons. The potash industry community is now discussing when long-term contracts are necessary. And perhaps the situation will change,” Osipov said.

 

He predicts that in 2020 the world potash consumption will grow to 65-66 million tonnes. “Judging by Brazil, where the main buyers of potash are located in small cities, now the country will have a peak in demand, and we believe that the price will go up … Demand will in any case increase by 1.5-2% per year,” Osipov said.

 

In his words, the potash industry is recovering quite quickly. “If we talk about the level of $500, this will probably not happen in the near future, but we have already sold products to Brazil at $340-350 per 1 tonne in early 2019,” he said.

 

Osipov said that in 2020, Uralkali plans to produce 11 million tonnes of potash, with production capacity standing at 12 million tonnes.

 

In his words, a return to joint trading with Belaruskali (Soligorsk, Minsk Oblast) is not on the agenda now. “Over the past seven years, both companies have learned to work independently and are implementing their own marketing strategies. And everyone has got used to it. Uralkali is quite satisfied with this state of affairs,” said Osipov. End

 

 

MART may restrict access to non-compliant online stores

 

MINSK, Jul 2 – PrimePress. The Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of Belarus (MART) intends to adjust the legislation to include rules that would restrict access to an online store in the case of violations until the seller eliminates them, head of MART Consumer Protection and Advertising Control Department Inna Gavrilchik said on July 2. End

 

 

Belarus needs to set up specialized network for cigarette sales – deputy premier

 

MINSK, Jul 2 – PrimePress. Cigarette sales in Belarus should be transferred from general stores to a specialized network. Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Alexander Subbotin made a statement to this effect after visiting the Grodno-based tobacco factory Neman on July 1.

 

Asked to comment on the development of the tobacco trade network Tabakerka  by Energo Oil, Subbotin said in an interview with TUT.by: “Now there is a global trend towards give up tobacco consumption. If we are going towards promoting healthy lifestyles, we should still move away from the sale of cigarettes in all stores and move to some specialized network, but time will show what to do with it in the future.”

 

In his words, Energo Oil’s Tabakerka project has been a result of close cooperation with Neman.

 

As previously reported, the decision to create a single distribution network in the tobacco sector was taken in late 2017. Energo Oil, which pledged to invest Br122 million ($50.3 million at the rate of National Bank of Belarus) acted as an investor. Part of that money was supposed to be invested in boosting Neman’s capacity. End

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