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GDP growth and real incomes of the population: how the Belarusian economy worked in the first quarter of this year

Movement along a predetermined path

Geopolitical turbulence in the region and ongoing external pressure. Belarus had to live with all this last year and has to live with it this year. Many overseas experts predicted the collapse of the model of socio-economic development of our state built over the years of creation. And, as expected, they voiced negative scenarios. there was no talk of any growth. But, as they say, even Homer sometimes nods. The IMF recently updated its forecasts for the main economic indicators of Belarus for 2024. And what can we see? Our country is predicted to grow. Strangely enough, the World Bank has also improved the estimate of Belarus' GDP growth in 2024. Apparently, it's hard to argue with the facts. And they show that thanks to timely measures taken at the level of the Head of State and the Government, the dynamics of economic growth has been restored and maintains a positive trend. This is evidenced by the results of the socio-economic development of the country in the first quarter.

Движение по заданной траектории


«Based on economy performance over the past year, in a difficult situation associated with pressure from Western unfriendly states on Belarus, the economy is coping. This means that the government and the National Bank are coping as well».

President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko during a report on the work of the banking system and measures taken to support foreign trade activities, March 28, 2024.

Reached the benchmark

To begin with, let us recall that in October last year, the President approved the most important forecast parameters for the country's development for 2024. The main goal is to ensure the economy resilience and increase the welfare of the population. The gross domestic product is projected to grow by 3.8 percent due to large-scale investment and production programs, the sale of Belarusian products to foreign markets and the expansion of domestic demand. But inflation should not exceed the 6 percent level. Real salary growth is also expected. The work results over the first three months show there are all prerequisites to reach the set benchmark. Belarus' GDP grew by 4.1 percent in the first quarter of 2024. Its volume at current prices made 53 billion rubles. And this is higher than the forecast parameter.


Traditionally, industry has made the main contribution to GDP growth.

The volume of industrial production in Belarus in January-March 2024 made 49.2 billion rubles, or 106.5 percent in comparable prices against January-March 2023 level, First Deputy Minister of Economy Andrei Kartun noted:

“The economy continues to show steady positive dynamics: the growth in March compared to March last year is 4.3 percent. Industry is maintaining high growth trend.

We have significantly increased the production of trucks and cars, buses, televisions, nitrogen fertilizers, cement, confectionery, paints, varnishes. Agriculture shows good results – 106.8 percent. We received a big increase in vegetables, eggs and milk.”

Вышли на ориентир

One of the drivers is trading. According to Belstat, retail trade turnover in the first quarter made 19.7 billion rubles, or 113.1 percent in comparable prices against the same level in 2023. The one-day retail turnover per capita since the beginning of the year is 23.5 rubles against 20.1 rubles for the same period of the previous year. At the same time, the retail turnover of trade organizations, which accounted for almost 95 percent of the retail turnover of the republic, made 18.7 billion rubles in the first quarter, or 114.1 percent in comparable prices against the corresponding period of the previous year. The wholesale trade turnover in the first quarter of 2024 made 42.3 billion rubles, or 105.8 percent in comparable prices against the first quarter of 2023.

External contour

The growth drivers, along with industry and trade, included construction at a rate of 104.3 percent. Steady positive dynamics is demonstrated by the transport sector: the growth rate in passenger turnover was 108.3 percent, cargo turnover – 103.1 percent. The economy is supported by sales increase in foreign markets.

“Exports of goods in January-February made 6.2 billion dollars,” Andrey Kartun, First Deputy Minister of Economy, said. “1.5 percent growth was achieved due to an increase in physical volumes. In particular, it was possible to increase exports to Asian countries by 14.2 percent and Africa by 3.4 times.”

Enterprises continue to invest in their development and modernization. The growth rate of investments in fixed assets in January-March is 104.8 percent.

“Annual inflation in March remained at 5.6 percent, which, along with the efficient operation of the economy, allows for a high level of wages – over 2,000 rubles in February 2024. Labor pensions also increased in real terms – by 9.1 percent. The positive dynamics in the economy directly affects the well-being of citizens. The real incomes of the population in the country are growing. In January-February 2024, they made 107.8 percent compared to the same level in 2023,” Andrey Kartun summed up.



BISR analyst Vitaly DEMIROV:

“Following the first quarter of 2024 socio-economic development data, it can be concluded that key economic indicators are steadily growing compared to the first quarter of 2023. First, we should note the GDP growth. This is a fairly important indicator of the general state of economy. A positive trend in GDP growth from domestic sources can contribute to further economic growth and development. It is important to note the growth in retail turnover in the first quarter of 2024. It reflects an increase in consumer activity and improvement in the living standard of the population. A moderate increase in wholesale trade and ¬catering turnover also shows positive dynamics in the country's economy. Economic growth in the first quarter of this year was supported by both an increase in real incomes of the population and a moderate level of inflation. The emphasis on increasing the purchasing power of our population seems to be extremely important in the context of continuing some difficulties in export destinations due to sanctions and increased competition.

Belarus continued to work to achieve technological sovereignty. In this regard, the level of import substitution and localization is increasing. Our country actively cooperates with Russia in the field of import substitution and increasing the level of localization, especially in the automotive, aircraft, microelectronics and machine tool industries. Among the expected positive examples of complex high-tech outputs with a high degree of localization is engineering of the twin-engine multi-purpose aircraft Osvey. Such products, in addition to the direct positive effects associated with passengers and cargo transportation, almost always have a fairly wide positive indirect impact and effects on a number of other industries.

Implementation of the plans on the basis of available resources will contribute to creating new jobs, attracting investment and expanding the export potential of Belarus.”