Belarusian GDP up 1.4% in Jan-Feb - early stats

MINSK. March 10 (Interfax) - Belarus' GDP increased 1.4% year-on- year in January-February 2009, a government source told Interfax citing preliminary Belstat data.

It was earlier reported that GDP growth in January 2009 came to 4.2% year-on-year.

GDP growth has slowed in Belarus owing to the world economic crisis. According to Belstat, in the fourth quarter of 2008, GDP growth came to 7.5% year-on-year, down from 11.2% in the third quarter, 10.4% in the second quarter and 11.2% in the first quarter.

In 2008, Belarusian GDP came to 128.8 trillion Belarusian rubles (2,880 Belarusian rubles/$1 on March 10, 2009) in current prices and up 10% in comparative prices following growth of 8.2% in 2007 and 10% in 2006, respectively.

President Alexander Lukashenko in August 2008 approved a GDP growth forecast for 2009 of 10%-12%. The International Monetary Fund, however, said in January 2009 that Belarusian GDP would grow by 1.4% this year, while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) predicted growth would come to about 2%.

According the Economic Ministry, GDP growth in the first quarter of 2009 will come to around 2%. For January-February, the ministry forecast growth at 2.5%.



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