Economy Sees Growth in First Half of 2013

ASTANA – Kazakhstan National Statistics Agency Chairman Alikhan Smailov reported on July 11 that the majority of the nation’s major economic indicators experienced growth in the first half of 2013 compared to the same period last year.

The only exception to the upward trend was exports, which declined year on year.

Kazakhstan’s short term key economic indicators (KEI) are calculated by the change in the index of production of key sectors (agriculture, industry, construction, trade, transport and communication) comprising 67-68 percent of GDP. The KEI experienced growth of 104.1 percent compared to the first half of 2012. Investment in fixed assets increased by 7.9 percent for the same period and reached 2.28 trillion tenge ($14.92 billion).

Industrial production reached 8.74 trillion tenge ($57.2 billion) having grown 1.8 percent. Mining and quarrying output increased by 2.2 percent, the processing industry by 1.8 percent; electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning by 0.5 percent and agricultural output by 1.4 percent.

Water supply, sewage and the collection and distribution of waste decreased by 11.9 percent, Smailov reported. Freight and passenger traffic increased by 0.9 percent and 11.5 percent respectively in the same period, with a freight turnover volume of 224.2 billion ton/km.

In the first half of the year, the transport volume index was 107.1 percent and the communication volume index 114.6 percent.

Retail trade for the first half of the year reached 2.24 trillion tenge ($14.6 billion), an increase of 12.3 percent. Wholesale trade increased by about the same amount and reached 6.07 trillion tenge ($39.7 billion). Food and beverage services grew by 8 percent to reach 105.7 billion tenge ($691.3 million) and the trade volume index for the period came to 112.5 percent.

The number of registered legal entities increased 5.9 percent, with the number of registered small businesses increasing by 6.9 percent compared to this time last year. Real per capita incomes increased by 2 percent.

Foreign trade decreased by 4.5 percent overall. Kazakhstan increased its import volume by 10.3 percent to $17.8 billion while exports decreased 10.8 percent to $34.2 billion. Foreign trade turnover overall between January and May was $52.1 billion.

Inflation for the first half of the year was 2.7 percent. At a government meeting on July 9, Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov said “Inflation is low enough… We need to keep working with this pace.” Food prices have increased by 1.7 percent in the first half of the year, non-food items by 1.1 percent and paid services by 5.4 percent. The consumer price index for June of this year is 102.7 percent of last year’s. Unemployment is 5.2 percent.

Predictions for the Kazakhstan’s economy in 2013 range from 5-6 percent GDP growth. The Kazakh government predicted 6 percent growth in 2013. Moody’s Investor’s Service predicted GDP growth of 5 percent. The Asian Development Bank predicts 5.2 percent growth in GDP in 2013 and 5.6 percent growth in 2014, mostly as a result of increased domestic demand as well as the results of the investment spending of the State Programme of Accelerated Industrial-Innovative Development (SPAIID). The International Monetary Fund and the Emerging Europe Monitor make similar forecasts, predicting growth of 5.5 percent (scaled back from an earlier forecast of 5.9 percent) and 5.4 percent in 2013.

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