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Belarus food & drink market

While strong industrial activity and exports will keep economic growth well supported, household consumption in Belarus will be constrained, as the government attempts to rein in a massive current account deficit. In fact, consumers in Belarus have traditionally been fond of economy items, a pattern further solidified by the elevated unemployment levels and inflation tipping into double-digit figures. At the same time, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko's previous pledge to bring average monthly wages up to US$500 now looks unachievable, at least in the near term, while further local currency devaluation will make imported food and drink products even more expensive.

Headline Industry Data (local currency)
- 2011 food consumption = +10.96%; forecast to 2015 = +74.79%
- 2011 per capita food consumption = +11.45%; forecast to 2015 = +78.51%
- 2011 alcoholic drinks sales = +9.82%; forecast to 2015 = +69.37%
- 2011 per capita alcoholic drinks sales = +10.30%; forecast to 2015 = +72.98%

Key Company Trends

Leading Local Brewer Continues to Increase Focus on Foreign Markets - According to figures quoted by the BelTA newsagency, Krinitsa Brewery exported some 769,000 decaliters of beer during the first three months of 2011. Krinitsa is continuing to focus on its export activities, in line with its strategic programme. Some of its target markets include Poland, where its products are promoted through the collaborative deal with leading global MGR player Tesco. In 2010, the brewer began exporting to Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Armenia, Vietnam and China. This geographical expansion allowed it to double its foreign business to 3.26mn decalitres in the year.

Key Risks To Outlook

Inflation to Possibly Edge Higher - We see risks to inflation being higher than forecasts. Given that the government could follow the path of a more pronounced devaluation of the ruble rather than limits on credit growth in order to correct for Belarus' massive current account deficit, this could see inflation spike higher in 2011 as a result of easy credit and imported inflation. The already challenged household consumption volumes could therefore fall below current expectations, although the lower value would be partly compensated by inflation.

by S. C.
30 june 2011, World News > Europe

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