Belarusian current account deficit widens 20% in H1

MINSK. Sept 18 (Interfax) - Belarus' current account deficit widened 20.2% year-on-year to $1.411 billion in the first half of 2008, the National Bank reported.

The capital and financial account surplus, meanwhile, shrank 24.5% to $1.296 billion.

The overall balance of payments surplus was $209.3 million in the first half, down 77.4% from a year earlier.

The country's visible and invisible trade deficit widened by 9.2% to $1.123 billion in the first half, according to balance of payments data.

The country's gross foreign debt stood at $14.1 billion on July 1, up 13% from the beginning of the year.

The National Bank forecasts that the balance of payments surplus will be about $350 million in 2008, with a current account deficit of $1.7 billion, or 3.3% of GDP, and a capital and financial account surplus of about $2 billion.

Belarus's current account deficit doubled to $2.944 billion in 2007, but there was a balance of payments surplus of $2.778 billion, or 6.3% of GDP.



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