Industry driving economy forward
By Alexander Burmistrov
The Economy Ministry notes that, in the first quarter on 2011, figures almost equalled those from the pre-crisis year of 2008. GDP growth reached 10.9 percent (against the similar period of 2010). Among the major ‘drivers’ are industry (3.7 percent), trade, repair of cars, household appliances and personal use goods (3.6 percent) and construction (1.7 percent). The spheres of construction and trade have seen the largest growth of gross value added (by 30.3 and 20.6 percent respectively).
The first months of 2011 were characterised by a high pace of industrial production growth (by 11.8 percent) — much owing to increased growth in the processing industry (114 percent). Meanwhile, most spheres of economic activity managed to surpass their annual prognosed figures. Industrial production rose by 111.8 percent (against the first quarter of 2010), the ore-mining industry — by 113.9 percent, food production — by 109.9 percent, metallurgy — by 117.2 percent, machine building — by 114.9 percent and production of transport vehicles and equipment — by 114.9 percent.
Economists note that Belarus’ trend to raise GDP’s material intensity continues; from January-March, this rose 0.3 percent. The largest growth was registered in industry (accounting for a third of Belarus’ GDP): ore-mining (0.5 percent) and processing (0.2 percent). Production and distribution of gas and water saw 0.4 percent growth. The trend is the result of rising prices for imported raw materials, products and fuel.
Industrial growth in early 2011 was accompanied by a reduced ratio of ready products and average monthly industrial production volumes. In comparison to those registered on April 1st, 2010, this figure fell from a quarter to half. In turn, industrial labour productivity rose 10.4 percent — due to the optimisation of the number of staff and growing monthly volumes per worker.
Export of services was the most optimistic branch last year, with figures continuing to strengthen in 2011. From January-February 2011, the foreign trade balance was positive, standing at $309m. However, growth against the same period of 2010 is not so large: just $6.6m. This mostly comprised computer ($13.6m), business ($14.5m) and construction ($2.8m) services.