Senior IMF official to visit Kazakhstan

May 22. Reuters. ALMATY

The International Monetary Fund said its Deputy Managing Director Takatoshi Kato will visit Kazakhstan on May 28 after analysts said the country may need cash to stabilise its banks and to prevent shocks to its economy.

Its oil-dominated economy and highly leveraged banks have been hit hard by the global economic crisis that has put to an end a decade of strong growth in the ex-Soviet republic.

In a transcript of a briefing by External Relations Director Caroline Atkinson published late on Thursday, the IMF said one of its senior managers would visit Kazakhstan next week.

“Deputy Managing Director Takatoshi Kato is traveling to Kazakhstan … for a discussion with the authorities and to attend a meeting of the Central Bank Governors Club for Central Asia, the Black Sea Region and the Balkan Countries,” she said.

Atkinson did not say if a potential loan would be discussed. The Kazakh government and central bank have repeatedly said their reserves are large enough to withstand the crisis.

An IMF mission visited Kazakhstan for regular economic policy discussions earlier this month and urged it to resolve banks’ problems in order to return to growth.

Three Kazakh lenders, including the country’s largest bank BTA, have halted debt repayments this year citing deteriorating asset quality and acceleration by creditors.