Kazakhstan Inflation Slowed to 8.4% in May From 8.8% in April

By Chris Kirkham

June 1 (Bloomberg) – Kazakhstan’s annual inflation rate fell last month as growth in prices of food and services slowed.

The annual rate fell to 8.4 percent from 8.8 percent the previous month, the Astana-based state statistics office said today. On the month, consumer prices rose 0.7 percent.

The oil-rich nation’s central bank may cut the benchmark refinancing rate to 8 percent from 9 percent in response to slowing inflation, Governor Grigori Marchenko said on May 15.

“If inflation is down to 7.5 percent or 7.7 percent by the end of the year the refinancing rate could be cut to 8 percent,” Marchenko said in an interview in London.

The bank cut the rate for the first time in three months in May, by half a percentage point, after inflation slowed in April from 9.5 percent at the start of the year.

Slowing inflation indicates a February devaluation of the nation’s currency hasn’t led to a surge in prices. Kazakhstan devalued the tenge by 21 percent against the dollar on Feb. 4 after oil prices dropped 67 percent in six months.