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After seven decades as a constituent republic of the USSR, Belarus attained its independence in 1991. It has retained closer political and economic ties to Russia than any of the other former Soviet republics. Belarus and Russia signed a treaty on a two-state union on 8 December 1999 envisioning greater political and economic integration. Although Belarus agreed to a framework to carry out the accord, serious implementation has yet to take place. Since his election in July 1994 as the country's first president, Aleksandr LUKASHENKO has steadily consolidated his power through authoritarian means. Government restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, peaceful assembly, and religion remain in place.


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Economy

Economy - overview
As part of the former Soviet Union, Belarus had a relatively well-developed industrial base; it retained this industrial base - which is now outdated, energy inefficient, and dependent on subsidized Russian energy and preferential access to Russian markets - following the breakup of the USSR. The country also has a broad agricultural base which is inefficient and dependent on government subsidies. After an initial burst of capitalist reform from 1991-94, including privatization of state enterprises, creation of institutions of private property, and development of entrepreneurship, Belarus' economic development greatly slowed. About 80% of all industry remains in state hands, and foreign investment has been hindered by a climate hostile to business. A few banks, which had been privatized after independence, were renationalized. State banks account for 75% of the banking sector. Economic output, which had declined for several years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, revived in the mid-2000s thanks to the boom in oil prices. Belarus has only small reserves of crude oil, though it imports most of its crude oil and natural gas from Russia at prices substantially below the world market. Belarus exported refined oil products at market prices produced from Russian crude oil purchased at a steep discount. In late 2006, Russia began a process of rolling back its subsidies on oil and gas to Belarus. Tensions over Russian energy reached a peak in 2010, when Russia stopped the export of all subsidized oil to Belarus save for domestic needs. In December 2010, Russia and Belarus reached a deal to restart the export of discounted oil to Belarus. In November 2011, Belarus and Russia reached an agreement to drastically reduce the price of natural gas in exchange for selling to Russia the remaining share of Beltransgaz, the Belarusian natural gas pipeline operator. Little new foreign investment has occurred in recent years. In 2011, a financial crisis began, triggered by government directed salary hikes unsupported by commensurate productivity increases. The crisis was compounded by an increased cost in Russian energy inputs and an overvalued Belarusian ruble, and eventually led to a near three-fold devaluation of the Belarusian ruble in 2011. The situation has stabilized short-term due to a $3 billion loan from the Russian-dominated Eurasian Economic Community Bail-out Fund, a $1 billion loan from the Russian state-owned bank Sberbank, and the $2.5 billion sale of Beltranzgas to Russian state-owned Gazprom.

Gdp (purchasing power parity) World Ranking: 61
$143.6 billion (2011 est.)
$136.3 billion (2010 est.)
$126.5 billion (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp (official exchange rate)
$55.48 billion (2011 est.)

Gdp - real growth rate World Ranking: 61
5.3% (2011 est.)
7.7% (2010 est.)
0.2% (2009 est.)

Gdp - per capita (ppp) World Ranking: 81
$15,200 (2011 est.)
$14,400 (2010 est.)
$13,300 (2009 est.)
Note Data are in 2011 US dollars

Gdp - composition by sector
Agriculture 9.4%
Industry 45.9%
Services 44.7% (2011 est.)

Labor force World Ranking: 76
5 million (2009)

Labor force - by occupation
Agriculture 9.4%
Industry 45.9%
Services 44.7% (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate World Ranking: 5
1% (2009 est.)
1.6% (2005)
Note
Official registered unemployed; large number of underemployed workers

Population below poverty line
27.1% (2003 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10% 3.8%
Highest 10% 21.9% (2008)

Distribution of family income - gini index World Ranking: 123
27.2 (2008)
21.7 (1998)

Investment (gross fixed) World Ranking: 6
39.7% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget
Revenues $23.25 billion
Expenditures $22.3 billion (2011 est.)

Taxes and other revenues World Ranking: 41
41.9% of GDP (2011 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) World Ranking: 28
1.7% of GDP (2011 est.)

Public debt World Ranking: 63
45.3% of GDP
23.5% of GDP

Inflation rate (consumer prices) World Ranking: 222
52.4% (2011 est.)
7.8% (2010 est.)

Central bank discount rate World Ranking: 16
10.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
13.5% (31 December 2009 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate World Ranking: 106
13.58% (31 December 2011 est.)
9.217% (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of narrow money World Ranking: 106
$4.211 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$4.554 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of broad money World Ranking: 95
$13.32 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$8.466 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of domestic credit World Ranking: 75
$25.21 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$25.25 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares
$NA

Agriculture - products
Grain, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, flax; beef, milk

Industries
Metal-cutting machine tools, tractors, trucks, earthmovers, motorcycles, televisions, synthetic fibers, fertilizer, textiles, radios, refrigerators

Industrial production growth rate World Ranking: 11
10.5% (2010 est.)

Electricity - production World Ranking: 62
32.95 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - consumption World Ranking: 59
31.07 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - exports
5.245 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports
1.84 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production World Ranking: 68
31,010 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - consumption World Ranking: 62
163,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - exports World Ranking: 41
310,500 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - imports World Ranking: 26
471,400 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - proved reserves World Ranking: 61
198 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural gas - production World Ranking: 76
150 million cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - consumption World Ranking: 37
17.75 billion cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - exports World Ranking: 59
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - imports World Ranking: 17
17.6 billion cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves World Ranking: 95
2.832 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current account balance World Ranking: 167
-$4.9 billion (2011 est.)
-$8.317 billion (2010 est.)

Exports World Ranking: 61
$39.62 billion (2011 est.)
$25.41 billion (2010 est.)

Exports - commodities
Machinery and equipment, mineral products, chemicals, metals, textiles, foodstuffs

Exports - partners
Russia 31%, Netherlands 12.6%, Ukraine 11.4%, Latvia 7.2%, Germany 4.7%, Brazil 4.3% (2011)

Imports World Ranking: 57
$42.18 billion (2011 est.)
$34.48 billion (2010 est.)

Imports - commodities
Mineral products, machinery and equipment, chemicals, foodstuffs, metals

Imports - partners
Russia 45.8%, Germany 6.5%, Ukraine 5.7%, China 4.5% (2011)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold World Ranking: 84
$6.209 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$3.431 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Debt - external World Ranking: 68
$33.73 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
$23.5 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Exchange rates
Belarusian rubles (BYB/BYR) per US dollar -
4,974.6 (2011 est.)
2,978.5 (2010 est.)
2,789.49 (2009)
2,130 (2008)
2,145 (2007)

Fiscal year
Calendar year


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  Belarus (Minsk):


  GPS points from Belarus (Minsk)

Krivsh Homyel'skaya Voblasts'

Prybytki Vitsyebskaya Voblasts'

Leopol'ye Horad Minsk

Kamen' Belarus (general)

Lyubarty Hrodzyenskaya Voblasts'

Stantsiya Brinevo Belarus (general)

Filipinenta Mahilyowskaya Voblasts'

Bogdanovka Mahilyowskaya Voblasts'




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