Kazakh inflation to rise on year in 2013 -central bank

Mar 13. Reuters. ALMATY

Kazakh inflation to rise on year in 2013 -central bankAnnual inflation in Kazakhstan could slightly exceed the 6 percent seen last year, the country’s central bank said on Wednesday, reiterating it aims to keep it in a range of between 6 and 8 percent this year.

Inflation in Central Asia’s largest economy slowed to 0.8 percent in February, month-on-month, from 0.9 percent in January, but stood at 6.8 percent for the first two months of this year, year-on-year, according to official data.

The bank said that annual inflation could exceed 7 percent in March and, despite an expected slowdown in the next few months, annual growth could be higher than in 2012 thanks to rises in incomes and bank lending.

Consumer price growth in Kazakhstan, the second-largest oil producer in the former Soviet Union after Russia, fell to 6.0 percent last year from 7.4 percent in 2011.

The slowdown in inflation prompted the bank to cut its key refinancing rate four times last year, bringing official borrowing rates to a historic low of 5.5 percent last August.