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In January-May Belarus’ foreign trade down 39% to $19.5bn

In January-May 2009, ’ foreign trade in goods and services shrank by 39% over the same period in 2008 to $19.5 billion, it was learnt from the National Statistics Committee. 

Belarusexport decreased by 45.5% to $8.5 billion and import dropped by 32.8% to $11 billion. In January-May 2009, Belarus’ foreign trade deficit amounted to $2519.8 million. This year the foreign trade deficit is projected at $1.47-1.5 billion. The deficit of the merchandise trade amounted to $3080.7 million while the surplus of the foreign trade in services reached $560.9 million. 

The National Statistics Committee attributed the reduction of the foreign trade to the fall in the prices for exported and imported products and trade deterioration in real terms due to the world crisis. The average export prices shrank by 31.6% over January-May 2008, with the average import prices down by 21.9%. The actual volume of export went down by 24%, that of import 14.6% down. 

In January-May 2009, the trade in commodities totalled $17.6 billion, with export as high as $7.2 billion, import — $10.4 billion. In actual prices the export of goods fell by 48% in comparison with the same period last year, imports of goods — 33.3%. 

Export and import operations with intermediate goods (energy resources, raw materials, components) were the main source of the foreign trade deficit. imported $7567.2 million worth of intermediate products (37.8% down on January-May 2008) and exported $4985.6 million worth of intermediate products (50.8% down). The deficit of the foreign trade in energy products amounted to $1453.9 million. 

In January-May 2009, the export of Belarusian investment goods shrank due to the falling demand. It was one of the causes of the $327.1 million deficit in the trade in this commodity group. In January-May 2009, the export of road and construction machines totaled only 17.5% as against January-May 2008, export of trucks and truck tractors — 19.8%, special-purpose vehicles — 32.6%, trailers and semitrailers — 31.7%, tractors — 48.4%. At the same time the import of metal-working machine-tools, machines and mechanisms for ground work, equipment for textile yarn production and electric generating plants increased. 

In January-May 2009, the surplus of the foreign trade in food totaled $209.1 million (up by $139 million from the same point in 2008). Meanwhile, food export shrank by 5.6% in cost terms. In particular, the export of condensed milk and powdered milk, canned fish, pork, and sugar decreased. In turn, imported less frozen fish, vegetable oil, cereals and some other products. The deficit of the foreign trade in non-foods reached $456.1 million. 

In January-May 2009, Belarus’ foreign trade in services totaled $1972.7 million (77.8% as against January-May 2008). The export of services amounted to $1266.8 million (77.4%), import — $705.9 million (78.6%).

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