IMF Predicts Belarusian Losses Due To Higher Energy Prices

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that the increased price of Russian gas for Belarus, along with unfavorable new terms of trade in crude oil and petroleum products, may result in losses estimated at 10-15 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2012, Belapan reported on August 31. "Belarus now pays Russia twice as much for gas supplies as in 2006, and one-fifth more as a share of world market prices for crude oil. This results in an estimated loss of 5 1/2 percent of GDP in 2007, of which about 1 1/2 percentage points could be offset by higher export prices and lower energy intensity of production. Subsequent losses will be smaller, particularly if additional declines in energy intensity occur, but cumulative losses through 2012 may reach 10-15 percent of GDP," the IMF said in a note published after the end of consultations with Belarus last week. JM