Belarus Automotive industry outlook has been resilient to the 2015-2016 economic crisis thanks to the import of discounted vehicles from “grey” channel. However, we foresee tough years ahead up to the 2022.
Belarus’ ongoing recession showed no sign of abating towards the end of last year despite rising commodity prices and stronger economic activity in the region. Recently revised data confirmed that the economy shrank again in Q4, marking the eighth consecutive quarterly contraction. The print mainly reflected a sharp drop in fixed investment and a more modest decrease in household consumption. In early March, the imposition of a so-called parasite tax triggered the largest anti-government protests in years all across the country, and was quickly repealed as a result.
However, the economy should emerge from the recession over the course of 2017 thanks to higher commodity prices and Russia’s expected recovery.
The automotive industry has been apparently not touched by the recent years crisis, remaining stable in a range of 50.000 units, of which near the half arrive from not official channels at discounted prices from Russia.
The impression is that while purchase power decreased and the demand for new vehicles declined, the availability of “discounted” vehicles have taken up the client’s attention on the sector, avoiding the fall.
Moreover, our studies shows as the risk for a market fall is now higher than in the past, as the Russian auto market will stabilize approaching in the 2017 a recovery and fewer vehicles should be available in the grey market.
Next five years will not be easy for Belarus automotive sector and we foresee many changes in the assets for distributors and producers (actually operating only in the HCVs and Bus segments).
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