Norwegian oil cost Belarus about USD 520 per ton

According to the National Statistical Committee, the turnover of foreign trade in goods decreased by USD 1,474.6 million or 14.0% in January-February 2020 compared to January-February 2019 and amounted to USD 9,048.3 million.

In January-February 2020 compared to January-February 2019, exports decreased by USD 716.4 million or 14.3% to USD 4,280.0 million, and imports reduced by USD 758.2 million or 13.7% to USD 4,768.3 million.

As a result, the negative balance of foreign trade in goods in January-February 2020 compared to January-February 2019 lowered by USD 41.8 million or 7.9% and amounted to USD 488.3 million.

Due to the lack of an agreement on the supply of Russian oil in the first months of this year, imports of Russian oil in January-February fell by more than USD 750 million or 3.5 times to USD 306 million. Accordingly, exports of oil products went down by more than USD 540 million or 2.45 times to USD 375 million. Exports of Belarusian oil stopped.

It should be noted that Belarus spent on 80k tons of Norwegian oil for about USD 40-42 million. That corresponds to the price of USD 500-525 per ton (for comparison, Russian oil cost Belarus 361 per ton in January, which is 40% cheaper). Also, note a 4-fold increase in imports of oil products from Kazakhstan to USD 9.2 million against the background of almost unchanged imports of oil products from Russia.

As a result, the foreign turnover of oil and oil products decreased by 2.9 times in January-February 2020, but the balance remained almost unchanged and totaled minus USD 3.8 million.

Foreign trade in oil and oil products, USD million

January-February 2019

January-February 2020

Change

Imports of oil

1,060.6

306.2

-754.5

Imports of oil from Norway

-

41.0

41.0

Imports of oil products

14.3

24.1

9.8

Exports of oil

116.4

0.0

-116.4

Exports of oil products

917.5

375.1

-542.4

Balance

-41.1

3.8

44.9

Total turnover

2,108.8

746.3

-1,362.5

Source: National Statistical Committee, BUSINESS NEWS calculations

Due to the lack of a new agreement on the supply of potash fertilizers with China in 2020, exports of fertilizers reduced by USD 212 million or 1.55 times to USD 386 million.

Under the influence of changes in the terms of trade in oil and oil products, the structure of Belarus' foreign trade changed compared to last year. In January-February 2020, the share of EU countries in the export structure decreased (from 26.9% to 18.3%) while the shares of other groups of countries, especially Russia, increased (from 38.4% to 47.7%). The share of Russia decreased from 57.9% to 49.0% of imports while the share of non-CIS countries without EU countries grew from 20.7% to 25.9%.

In January-February 2020, the balance of foreign trade in goods worsened in almost all groups of countries, except for Russia. At the same time, the positive balance of foreign trade with the EU countries and with non-CIS countries outside without EU countries became negative. The balance with the CIS countries without EAEU member states lowered by 0.5%, and the EAEU member states without Russia went down by 10.7%.

Note that the reduction in oil imports from Russia had a positive effect on the foreign trade balance with this country. As a result, the negative balance of trade with Russia decreased by 4.3 times.

The reduction in the turnover of oil and oil products in January-February 2020 led to a decrease in the foreign turnover of Belarus with the leading partner countries. So, compared to January 2019, oil exports to Germany stopped, and export of oil products to the Netherlands decreased twofold, to the UK – by 4.6 times, to Poland – by 8.5 times. The smallest decline in export of oil products was recorded in Ukraine – by 12.1%.

The share of oil and oil products from Russia in the total imports to Belarus in January-February 2020 amounted to 13.3%, down 3.5 times compared to January-February 2019. In January-February 2020, oil products accounted for 42.2% in the structure of exports to Ukraine (the share was 46.2% over the same period last year,), to the UK – 83.6% (92.8%), to Poland – 3.6% (25.2%), to the Netherlands – 48.1% (60.8%).

In January-February of this year, the foreign trade turnover of Belarus with the first 15 partners lowered by USD 1.46 billion or 16.1%. The largest decrease was observed in trade with the UK (minus 73%), India (minus 30%), Germany (minus 29%), Lithuania (minus 28%), the Netherlands (minus 24%), and Italy (minus 23%). The largest growth was recorded in trade with Norway (by 79%) and Kazakhstan (by 22%). Among the main trading partners, trade with China decreased by 4.4%, with Russia – by 14.4% while the trade with Ukraine increased by 0.7%.

Note that the increase in trade with Norway is due to oil import, and the decrease in trade with China is explained by the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic. Note the growth in export to Azerbaijan by almost 3 times, which is most likely explained by the export of military goods.

In January-February 2019, Belarus had the largest negative balance in trade with China (USD 540 million), Russia (USD 294 million), and Germany (USD 122 million), and the largest positive balance in trade with Ukraine (USD 241 million) and Lithuania (USD 105 million).

In January-February 2020, there was a significant decrease in the turnover of intermediate goods by energy products against the background of growth in consumer goods. The largest reduction in both export and import was observed by energy products as a result of a reduction in the supply of oil and oil products.

Note that in February against the background of a slight slowdown in the decrease in the physical turnover, the decrease in average prices for both export and import accelerated. This means that the demand for cheaper goods grew.

Foreign trade indices for January-February 2020, %

Exports

Imports

unit value

volume index

unit value

volume index

Investment goods

106.6

84.9

96.7

119.2

Intermediate goods

97.1

76.8

96.5

77.9

including:

power goods

98.4

37.1

95.9

51.3

other intermediate goods

96.4

97.7

96.9

98.4

Consumer goods

107.2

104.4

101.8

103.7

including:

food products

105.9

100.2

101.1

102.2

non-food products

109.2

110.3

102.1

104.5

Source: National Statistical Committee

In January-February 2020, exports of the most important goods reduced. In addition to oil products and fertilizers, exports of trucks, tractors, spare parts and ferrous metals decreased markedly.

Export proceeds from food products grew: milk and dairy products, meat and meat products, as well as rapeseed oil. Exports of cars, shoes, furniture, and medicines also increased.

Note that when exports of oil products and potash fertilizers reduced, exports of milk and dairy products ranked first. The top five leaders also included exports of meat and meat products.


In January-February 2020, imports of the most important goods decreased, too. In addition to oil, imports of natural gas, ferrous metals, and combustion engines went down. Imports of metal structures, pipe fittings, cars, and cereals reduced.

Imports of rolling stock parts, isolated cables, liquefied gas, oil products, communication equipment, and calculation equipment grew most of all.



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