Economic News in Brief

The investment income of Kazakhstan’s Unified Accumulation Pension Fund (UAPF) for the first three quarters of 2018 reached 663.1 billion tenge (US$1.79 billion). At the end of September, pension savings amounted to 8.9 trillion tenge (US$24.06 billion), 17.9 percent more than a year ago.  Savings in compulsory pension funds contributed 97.9 percent of all the revenue, while savings in professional mandatory pensions accounted for another 2.1 percent (182.7 billion tenge or US$494.01 million) of the total amount. Voluntary pension savings remain the least popular contributing factor, accounting for only 0.02 percent of the total (1.8 billion tenge or US$4.87 million).

The number of Kazakh banks has shrunk, leaving fewer players in the sector, though those remaining are the most reliable. The year started with 32 actively working banks, but by autumn only 28 second-tier banks remained in the market. At the same time, aggregate indicators of the banking sector remain positive. The volume of assets of second-tier banks increased by 1.7 percent over September and amounted to 24.5 trillion tenge (US$66.25 billion). Annual growth was 0.4 percent. The total volume of assets of first-tier banks with a market share of over 5 percent increased by 2.1 percent over the month, to 18.3 trillion tenge (US$49.48 billion).

The assets of Kazakh investment and management companies increased by 2.5 percent at the end of September and totalled 171.9 billion tenge (US$464.81 million). The assets of companies are growing from year to year, but with increased volatility. Last September, assets increased by 43.8 percent, while in 2016 the increase was by 2.5 percent. Liabilities have grown along with assets, totalling 63.2 billion tenge (U$170.34 million), a small increase compared to 2017’s 63.1 billion tenge (US$170.62 million). The balance capitalisation of investment portfolio managers in September increased by 3.9 percent and amounted to 108.7 billion tenge (US$293.92).

Investments in healthcare and social services increased by 53.7 percent (amounting to 73.8 billion tenge) for the first nine months of 2018 compared to the same period last year, though they still only reach a 1 percent share of the total investment in fixed assets. The Almaty region, Almaty and Astana provided for 42.3 percent of all investments in the sector. The main sources of funding for fixed capital were local budgets, which allocated 28.3 billion tenge, and own funds of the business, 27.1 billion tenge, in nine months.

At the end of September, 2,340 active large enterprises registered, an increase of 3.9 percent compared to last year. The total number of registered enterprises grew by 4.6 percent. However, the number of active large businesses has not grown significantly in the last five years; their number has fluctuated between roughly 2,200 and 2,400. The share of active large businesses has remained high over the years (94.4 percent this year). The most popular sphere is healthcare and social services, with 538 enterprises; state administration, defence, and compulsory social security follow with a total of 262 businesses. The manufacturing industry completes the top three with 252 operating companies.

For the first three quarters of 2018, the volume of internet providers’ services to access the worldwide network reached 180.5 billion tenge (US$488.06 million), which is 6.7 percent more than in the same period a year earlier, according to finprom.kz. At the same time, the number of users dropped by 1.6 percent at the end of September to 2.45 million. Over a five-year period, the number of active internet users has increased by 654,600, however. The number of users with high-speed broadband access exceeded 1 million by the end of January 2018, then dropped to 341,100 by the end of February. The largest accumulation of users with high-speed access is in Astana, at 675,300 uses. This figure a year earlier was only 192,500.