Economy news in brief

On Oct. 18, President Nursultan Nazarbayev held a meeting with the Board of Oil and Gas of Kazakhstan. At the meeting officials discussed current issues of further development of the oil and gas industry, modernisation and diversification. Nazarbayev noted the need to improve the organisational structure of KazMunayGas in order to avoid duplication of functions between its subsidiaries and to comply with international standards of corporate governance. The President drew attention to the ordering of the domestic oil market and the importance of identifying specific prospects of the oil refining industry. Other important issues of the oil and gas sector, including developing the North Caspian project and activities of Tengizchevroil were also discussed.

The Kazakhstan National Bank recently issued new silver and tantalum Cosmos Series coins. The two color coins, which are valued at 500 tenge ($3.25) are circular in shape and characterized by ornate, nested rings. The inner portion of the coin is made with tantalum, the outer ring is made of silver. On the front side of the coin, the unity of man and the universe is depicted in the center. To the right is the coin’s denomination; underneath that mark, is the mark of Kazakhstan’s mint and the inscription “Ag 925 14,6 g”, “Ta 26,8 g”, indicating the metals used and the coins countermark and weight. On the circumference, an inscription reads “QAZAQSTAN RESPUBLIQASY” and “REPUBLIC OF KAZAKHSTAN”. Other commemorative Cosmos Series coins are made of silver nickel alloy. Five thousand 500 tenge coins and 10,000 50 tenge ($0.32) coins were issued.

The average monthly salary in Kazakhstan in September was 105,905 tenge ($688). This is a 6.1 percent increase compared to September of 2012. According to data from the state statistical agency, the highest salaries were found in industrial companies. In the mining and quarrying industry, the average monthly salary was 207,300 tenge ($1,347), which is twofold the national average. In the professional, scientific and technical fields, the average wage was 201,000 tenge ($1,306), which is 1.9 times higher than the national average, and in the financial and insurance industries, the average salary was 177,400 tenge ($1,152), which is 1.7 times the national average. The lowest salaries were found in the field of education at 67,000 tenge ($435) on average, which is 36.8 percent lower than the national average. Regionally, the highest salaries were in Atyrau at 188,000 tenge ($1,221), which is 1.8 times the average national average. In Zhambyl, the average was 74,300 tenge ($483), which is 29.8 percent lower than the national average.

High-speed trains will be launched on five different routes in Kazakhstan in 2014. This will reduce travel times by 1.5-2 times their current lengths, the Ministry of Transport and Communications stated on 17 Oct. “High-speed trains on the Astana-Kyzylorda, Almaty-Aktobe, Almaty-Zashita, Astana-Zhashita and Almaty- Tashkent routes will help meet increased demand for passenger transport in these regions, and travel time on each route will be reduced by an average of one and half times or twofold.” As the ministry noted, Astana-Kyzylorda passengers will spend one day in transit. On scheduled passenger trains, travel takes two days. The Astana-Zashita train will stop in Pavlodar. Previously, high-speed trains were running between Almaty and Atyrau, Astana and Atyrau and Atyrau and Semey. Travel time on these routes was reduced almost by half. According to the Transport and Communications Ministry, in the first nine months of 2013, the number of passengers reached 19.9 million, which is 9.3 percent more compared to the same period last year. 174 upgraded passenger cars were purchased this year, including 125 Tulpar-Talgo cars. By year’s end, it is expected that 51 more cars will have been purchased.

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