Economic News in Brief

Kazakhstan’s giant Kashagan oil field is aiming for an output of 370,000 barrels of oil per day (bpd) in its first phase of production, which it hopes to launch by the end of 2017 after repeated delays, Rigzone reported on June 9. The field, the biggest oil find in decades, first began production in September 2013 but halted after only a few weeks when it was found that pipes were leaking in the North Caspian operation. The North Caspian Operating Company (NCOC) developing the oilfield started replacing the pipelines this year and output is expected to resume in the second half of 2016, according to NCOC representatives. Output of 90,000 bpd is expected for the first few months before rising to 90,000 bpd, then 180,000 bpd and finally 370,000 bpd. Kazakhstan is second only to Russia for oil production in the former Soviet Union. Crude oil production fell to 80.8 million tonnes last year from a peak of 81.7 million tonnes in 2013. Output is not expected to exceed 80.5 million tonnes this year.
Kazakhstan has seen a slight drop in the price of real estate, KazakhTV reported on June 13. The press service of the Committee on Statistics of the Kazakh Ministry of National Economy reported a 1.4 percent decrease in real estate prices in May, compared to the previous month. Rent prices increased by 0.3 percent. Prices in the housing market are monitored in Astana, Almaty and regional centres.



The government of Kazakhstan signed a five-year, $88 million loan agreement today with the World Bank to foster productive innovation in Kazakhstan, The Financial reported on June 9. The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Education and Science and is intended to promote high-quality, nationally relevant research and technology commercialisation. It aims to improve Kazakhstan’s capacity for innovation and quality of scientific research institutes, and increase company spending on research and development and university-industry collaboration in research and development. The loan will finance competitive grants to groups developing commercially viable research and ideas and help domestic research institutes and other relevant entities upgrade their facilities. The total project cost is $110 million, with $22 million coming from the government of Kazakhstan. It will be launched once it is ratified by Kazakhstan’s Parliament.



Kazakhstan has bumped its metallurgical production by 15.6 percent in the first five months of 2015 as compared to last year, Azer News reports, citing First Deputy Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev speaking at the International Astana Mining & Metallurgy Congress on June 17. The results are due to the first five-year plan of industrialisation in the mining and metallurgy industries, he said, saying the country had invested $2.5 billion in the programme, put 60 new factories into operation and created more than 16,000 permanent jobs. Another six projects are planned for this year, Sagintayev said. He also said the country plans to increase titanium and coal production and to begin producing methane by 2017.



The Korea Asset Management Corporation (KAMCO) held a policy advisory meeting at Kazakhstan’s National Bank on June 16-17 as part of the Knowledge Sharing Programme led by Korea’s Ministry of Strategy & Finance, Business Korea reports. The conference was intended to help Kazakh banks improve the quality of their assets and strengthen the country’s financial market in general by disposing of nonperforming loans, a major problem in Kazakhstan. KAMCO had been conducting research in the country through an agreement with Kazakhstan’s National Bank; the results were shared at the meeting. KAMCO mentioned restructuring insolvent financial institutions, expanding the scope of debt undertaking by the National Bank’s Fund of Problem Loans, establishing a bad debt evaluation system using data on court auctions and real estate prices and enacting laws for financial market restructuring.

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