Kazakhstan’s Economy May Grow in First Half, Nazarbayev Says

June 8. Bloomberg

By Nariman Gizitdinov

Kazakhstan’s economy may grow in the first half as investments by the government of the biggest energy producer in Central Asia help prop up businesses, President Nursultan Nazarbayev said.

“The financial sector had stabilized and the construction sector revived,” Nazarbayev told a Cabinet meeting in Astana today, according to the state-run Kazinform service.

The government has spent more than 734 billion tenge ($4.9 billion) to support banks and businesses since the economic downturn began, including the February takeover of the biggest lender, BTA Bank. The economy shrank 2.2 percent in the first quarter as demand for commodities declined.

The Central Asian country, which holds 3.2 percent of the world’s oil reserves according to BP Plc, had average annual growth of more than 10 percent from 2000 through 2006, fueled by high commodities prices and a construction boom.

“The sharp phase of the crisis was passed through, there are signs that we are going into a positive trend at the end of the first half,” Prime Minister Karim Masimov said today, according to Kazinform.



Kazakhstan economy showing signs of recovery- PM

ASTANA, June 8. Reuters

by Raushan Nurshayeva

Kazakhstan’s economy is showing signs of recovery and is likely to achieve growth in the first half of the year, Prime Minister Karim Masimov said on Monday.

Some economists, including those at the International Monetary Fund, expect the Kazakh economy to shrink this year for the first time in a decade after gross domestic product contracted by 2.2 percent in the first quarter.

“We are still in negative territory. But … we have seen a positive trend starting from March,” Masimov told a government meeting chaired by President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

“All the signs are showing that it (gross domestic product) will step into positive territory in the first half.”

The export-oriented, resource rich nation has been hit hard by the global economic downturn. The government is now worried about a possible rise in social tension caused by falling incomes in the mainly Muslim, former Soviet republic.

The official government forecast for this year’s growth is one percent.

GDP in Kazakhstan, a vast nation wedged between the Caspian Sea and China, grew 3.2 percent last year, after expanding at an average rate of about 10 percent in 2000-2007 on the back of booming oil and metals prices, its main exports.