Economic News in Brief

Trade turnover of agricultural products and processed goods between Kazakhstan and China totalled $345 million in 2017, reported kazakh-tv.kz, a 32-percent increase compared to 2016. Kazakh exports to China include frozen fish, sunflower seeds and oilseeds, rapeseed oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, vegetable oil and honey. In the next few years, Kazakh wheat and flour will also be shipped to the Chinese market. “Last year, we shipped 40,000 tonnes of vegetable oil and over 30,000 tonnes of grain and flour to Xi’an. We sell them with the Made in Kazakhstan label. Local consumers are pleased with the quality of the products,” said Chinese company staff member Jia Junqi.

Foreign investments in the Kazakh manufacturing industry have increased, reported 24.kz, reaching 25 percent of foreign investment last year. In comparison with 2009, the figure has tripled, according to the Ministry for Investments and Development committee for investment. The agency presented a new strategy for attracting foreign capital. “Last year, we established Kazakh Invest, which became a single operator to attract foreign investors. Now, they have approximately 200 projects in their plans, including ones with transnational companies. This year, Kazakh Invest is supposed to implement major projects involving transnational companies. These projects will really make a significant contribution to the development of the country’s economy,” said committee chairperson Yerlan Khairov.

Kazakhstan and Turkey are strengthening economic cooperation, reported kazakh-tv.kz. As part of a so-called investment week, a Kazakh delegation met in Istanbul and Ankara with the 35 largest Turkish companies. The parties discussed cooperation prospects in mining, metallurgy, construction, energy, telecommunication, agriculture and textile and pharmaceutical industries. Factors such as the favourable investment environment and conditions for doing business in Kazakhstan have sparked interest among Turkish entrepreneurs as they plan to implement several projects in Kazakhstan, including constructing a solar electric station with a 50-megawatt capacity as well as a joint enterprise on geological exploration.

The volume of loans to individuals increased 13.3 percent through March, reaching 4.6 trillion tenge (US$14 billion), according to ranking.kz. The volume of consumer loans to individuals increased 18 percent over the past year to three trillion tenge (US$9.2 billion), which is 65 percent of retail loans. In March, the volume of consumer loans grew 16.9 percent to 331,000 tenge (US$1,014) per economically active resident, or 2.2 average monthly wages. The number of economically active individuals grew only 0.9 percent during the year to nearly nine million people, of which 5.2 million reside in cities and 3.8 million in villages.

Kazakhstan’s economy will accelerate based on diversification, modernisation and integration, said International Monetary Fund (IMF) Deputy Managing Director Tao Zhang in an interview with kazakh-tv.kz. Today, the country is already following this path. He noted Kazakhstan and other Central Asian nations should become part of the global logistics chain to achieve sustainable economic development. The countries need to increase their transit capacity and export volumes in world markets. Global and regional integration programmes help Central Asian countries significantly increase trade turnover and attract investments. “In the past, Kazakhstan pretty much relied on the commodity economies. Now it is time to move forward with the reforms and promote private sector development, which will be the support of stronger growth in other sectors such as services, agriculture, etc. It is time to move and we have to move quickly,” he said.

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