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Romeo Abdo: Current Socioeconomic Conditions in Belarus

The research company SATIO presented the results of a study devoted to the peculiarities of savings behavior and investment preferences of Belarusians. How many Belarusians make savings, how they handle savings, what methods are most in demand – in our material. 977 people took part in the study conducted by the company, and the sample structure corresponds to the distribution of the urban population of Belarus by age, sex, education, income level and place of residence. It should be noted that residents of rural areas, as well as people over 64 years old, did not take part in the survey, which imposes certain restrictions on the results obtained in the course of the study.

The Queen of Savings – Cash

The most popular way of storing savings is cash – 45% of the respondents preferred this way of saving. At the same time, Belarusians trust the storage of foreign currency on “plastic” less than the Belarusian ruble. This form of saving was chosen by only 14% of the respondents. We believe that this feature is associated with the difficulties of cash withdrawal, which periodically arose in Belarusian banks during the next devaluation shock. But the national currency on a bank card (28%) has become a more preferable way of saving than cash rubles – 28% and 25% of respondents, respectively, use such methods of saving.

It should be noted that, against the background of more liquid options, methods of storing savings with low liquidity are much less popular. At the same time, according to the survey results, even bank deposits received rather low ratings (10% – in rubles, 8% – in foreign currency). Such a low popularity of bank deposits may be associated with the introduction of a system of callable and irrevocable deposits, which led to a sharp decline in the yield on short-term deposits. It is curious that residential real estate (10%) for Belarusians is a more preferable option than commercial (1%), and investments in cryptocurrencies (4%) are more interesting than purchasing securities (3%). Such low ratings inherent in these instruments can be explained by their high risks and a longer time horizon, which makes them much more attractive for long-term investments and less attractive for savings.

The results of the study also showed that Belarusians in general tend to rate the safest options as the most profitable, preferring not so much to earn as not to lose. So, the most profitable and safe are cash, residential real estate, precious metals, and such “investment” options as playing on the foreign exchange markets, securities, cryptocurrency, commercial real estate, are regarded as the least profitable and not safe enough.

Thus, the economic thinking and behavior of Belarusians contradicts the basic economic principles of the relationship between profitability and risk. It is the safest instruments that are less profitable in terms of potential profitability, while others (although they are associated with risks) can provide higher returns. However, the economic behavior of Belarusians is determined more by the desire to preserve than to increase, which explains these differences well.

The most bought currency is the US dollar, the most sold is the Russian ruble

A separate block of research questions is devoted to the study of the level of involvement of the population in foreign exchange transactions. On average, they buy currency once every 5.9 months, and sell it once every 7.3 months. 38% of people say that they buy currency regularly (once every 2.3 months); 12% – that they regularly sell it (once every 1.6 months). As you can see, on average, Belarusians are rarely involved in currency exchange operations, but there are specific groups of people who perform them regularly. Men, people with an income above average, under 44, residents of Minsk, with higher education are much more likely to buy foreign currency.

In general, the US dollar remains the most popular currency for buying and selling, with more people buying it than selling it. It is interesting that Russian rubles are more often sold, while US dollars and euros, on the contrary, are bought. There is a dependence of buying currencies on age: people 20–24 years old almost always buy exactly US dollars, and older people diversify their purchases with euros and Russian rubles (although the dollar is the most popular currency among them).

Experience of Romeo Abdo

Romeo Abdo is a Belarusian businessman, originally from Lebanon. This person has been present on the Belarusian market for over 20 years and shows outstanding results in his work. Based on this many years of experience, we can come to the conclusion that Belarus is a reliable direction, which shows, albeit slow, but stable growth.

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