Business News in Brief

Transportation investments will reach $20 billion by 2020, First Deputy Minister of Investment and Development of Kazakhstan Zhenis Kassymbek said during the March 30 Kazakhstan-Batumi business forum. “Investmentsin transport generally go into projects of an East-West direction, including infrastructure towards the Caspian Sea and on towards Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. Most funds have been invested in the construction of a new railway called the Beineu-Zhezkazgan, as well as the second transfer point towards China (Altynkol-Khorgos) in order to attract Chinese traffic headed towards the Persian Gulf and the Caucasus,” Kassymbek said. “I think that the implementation of these projects and the expansion of the Aktau sea port will bring traffic towards the Caucasus.” According to him, the volume of external trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Georgia is $115 billion. Kazakhstan has 80 joint enterprises with Georgia. Kazakh companies such as KazTransOil and KazMunaiGas invest in the Georgian economy.

Under the Nurly Zhol programme, citizens will be able to receive preferential car loans under certain circumstances. A total of 15 billion tenge (US$80.78 million) will be provided for the loans by the National Fund, Vice Finance Minister Ruslan Dalenov said at a March 27 media briefing at the Central Communications Service (CCS). “Citizens can take a car loan at a reduced rate of 4 percent for a period of 3-5 years; of course, the loan will be in tenge,” Dalenov said. According to him, the number of cars will vary depending on the model and a complete set that the user selects. This year, 92.5 billion tenge (US$497 million) will be allocated to build rental housing with or without a purchase option. About 10,000 such apartments will be built.

The Committee on Statistics of the Ministry of National Economy of Kazakhstan reported on April 1 that the level of inflation in March 2015 in comparison with February was 0.1 percent. At the same time, according to agency data, March food prices increased by 0.2 percent and paid services by 0.1 percent. Non-food prices over the last month have not changed. Meanwhile, since the beginning of the year, inflation was 1.1 percent, while in annual terms, it was 5.2 percent. The committee also reported that in March, a 2.5 percent increase in the price of fresh vegetables was observed and a 1.6 percent increase for fresh fruit; olive oil prices increased by 1.5 percent; canned fish and tea: 1 percent; melted cheese: 0.9 percent; sausages and meat: 0.7 percent; confectionery and alcoholic beverages: 0.6 percent; baked goods and flour based confectionery products: 0.5 percent; premium wheat flour and cottage cheese: 0.4 percent. The reduction  of the price of sugar has been fixed at 2.5 percent; poultry: 2.2 percent; eggs: 2.1 percent; sunflower oil: 1.6 percent, rice: 1.1; buckwheat, kefir and potatoes: 0.9 percent; rennet cheese: 0.8 percent and raw milk: 0.7 percent. The increase in prices for pharmaceutical products was 0.9 percent, prices for detergents and cleaning products, newspapers and periodicals went up by 0.6 percent, clothing and footwear, goods for personal use increased by 0.5 percent. Gasoline prices fell by 1.6 percent and diesel fuel by 1.7 percent, liquefied gas fell by 11.4 percent. The price level of banya services increased by 1.3 percent, restaurants and hotels by 1.2 percent, healthcare by 0.6 percent, recreation, entertainment, preschool and culture related services by 0.4 percent. The price of long distance passenger rail tickets fell by 2.9 percent, air transport fares increased by 5.1 percent.

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