Economic News in Brief

The demand for Kazakh cement is growing in Uzbekistan, 24.kz reports, with consumers especially interested in goods produced in Shymkent, Karaganda and Taraz. According to construction market seller Kakharman Nasirov, they sell up to 300 tonnes of Kazakh construction materials per month. Considering the pace of development of construction in Uzbekistan, this figure could grow, the entrepreneur believes. According to the Ministry for Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan, trade turnover between the two countries from January to March exceeded $543 million. In the first quarter, Uzbekistan imported 265,000 tonnes of Kazakh cement, three times more than in previous years.

Results of Kazakhstan’s Comprehensive Privatisation Plan for the first half of the year were announced during an Aug. 2 meeting at the Central Communications Service, 24.kz reports. Part of the state block of shares of the Khorgos International Centre of Boundary Cooperation will be put up for sale before the end of the year. Their value will be determined through an expert evaluation. However, Kazakhfilm can be excluded from the list of privatisation facilities. Out of 502 facilities, 421 were sold for 200 billion tenge (US$573 million).

Kazakhstan’s transport and logistics industries are growing steadily, kazakh-tv.kz says. Last year, the infrastructure sector contributed 4.3 trillion tenge (US$12.3 billion) to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The value makes up 8.2 percent of the economy. Within one year, investments in the sector increased by 37 percent. In total, 578.5 billion tenge (US$1.66 billion) was invested in the transport and logistics industry in the first half of the year. According to energyprom.kz, the Astana, Atyrau and Mangistau regions make the largest investments volume. Today, a number of projects in the transport sector are being implemented in the country. They include modernising and expanding oil and gas pipelines, upgrading airport infrastructure, developing the Aktau seaport and Khorgos dry port and building highways and transport corridors, including the New Silk Road Pan-Eurasian project.

The volume of oil production in Kazakhstan will total 104 million tonnes a year by 2025, kazakh-tv.kz says. Most of this oil will be extracted at the three main Kazakh oil fields: Tengiz, Karachaganak and Kashagan. There are plans to construct a fourth compressor and a fifth infield pipeline. According to Director General of the Kazenergy Association Asset Magauov, the oil and gas industry remains an attractive sector for direct investments. Moreover, Kazakhstan’s new tax code and subsoil code will accelerate the attraction of foreign businesses to the oil sector, including to activities like offshore oil exploration and extraction. Astana also plans environmental legislation reform this year.

The share of non-cash in total card turnover grew from 16 to 26 percent, according to finprom.kz. A massive shift is underway in Kazakhstan to payments through cards. For the first half of the year, 193 million non-cash payments were made. For comparison, only 105 million transactions for payments through cards were recorded in 2016. In the first half of the year, the average amount per transaction was 11,200 tenge (US$31.90). For the same period of 2017, the average amount of one purchase through a payment card exceeded 12,000 tenge (US$34.43). During the year, the number of active payment cards increased by 22 percent to 10.5 million. The demand for credit cards is growing. Compared to the first half of last year, the number of active credit cards increased by more than 60 percent. The number of active credit cards in Kazakhstan reached 1.5 million.

This year, the generation of electricity by thermal power plants using environmentally dirty fossil fuels has grown from 79 percent to 82 percent, 24.kz said. Despite the development of green energy, energy generation by solar stations is only 0.1 percent of the country’s total. Wind power plants account for 0.4 percent of Kazakhstan’s generated energy.