Kazakhstan’s 2009 economic growth slows to 1.2 pct

Feb 15. Reuters. ALMATY

* Kazakhstan avoids recession in 2009
* Agriculture, industry contributed to growth

Kazakhstan's 2009 economic growth slows to 1.2 pctKazakhstan’s gross domestic product grew 1.2 percent last year, down from 3.2 percent in 2008 but above most estimates, the state statistics agency said on Monday.

The government had earlier estimated 2009 growth at 1.1 percent while most analysts had anticipated a recession in Central Asia’s largest economy after GDP shrank by 2.2 percent in January-September.

“If confirmed, the government’s full-year figure would therefore represent a remarkable bounce in the fourth quarter,” JPMorgan said in a note last week.

“It is hard to see where the growth will have come from, even taking into account the 10 percent growth in oil output that was likely recorded last quarter.”

The statistics agency said the agricultural sector had grown by 13.8 percent in 2009 while industry had expanded by 1.8 percent, contributing to overall growth. Kazakhstan harvested a record 21 million tonnes of grain last year.