ADB forecasts 4 percent growth for Kazakhstan in 2018, prompts improved Central Asian outlook

ASTANA – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) set a 4 percent growth projection for Kazakhstan in its Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2018 Supplement report, released Dec. 11.

Photo credit: adb.org.

ADO is an annual print and online publication offering socioeconomic analyses and forecasts on Central Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific in March or April, with a September update and July and December supplement. The supplement report is authored by the ADB Regional Economic Outlook Task Force and revises outlooks published Sept. 26 in the ADO 2018 Update report.

“Despite challenges brought about by trade conflict, growth forecasts for developing Asia remain unchanged at 6 percent for 2018 and 5.8 percent for 2019, as envisaged in September in the ADO 2018 Update,” the report begins. “East Asia and the Pacific are on track to meet growth projections. Unexpectedly strong expansion in Central Asia offsets small downward revisions for South and Southeast Asia in 2019.”

Indeed, Central Asia’s projected growth for 2018 increased from 4.1 percent in the update to 4.2 percent in the supplement, largely reflecting Kazakhstan’s improved outlook from 3.7 percent to 4 percent projected growth.

In the first nine months of 2018, the country surpassed expectations by reaching a 4.1 percent growth rate, with higher-than-anticipated 4.4 percent growth in construction and 3.9 percent growth in services. Moderate oil price projections next year translated into a marginally lower growth projection, from 3.9 percent in the Update to 3.8 percent in the supplement, for Kazakhstan’s 2019 outlook.

Central Asia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth is up from 4.2 percent to 4.3 percent and inflation is projected at 8 percent, lower than the initial 8.4 percent forecast. The former reflects Kazakhstan’s GDP growth from 3.7 percent to 4 percent, and the latter is indicative of the report’s downward revisions for Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Kazakh National Bank’s commitment to its inflation target contributed to the country’s lower inflation projection from 7 percent to 6.3 percent, the report notes.

ADB is a regional development bank established in 1966 and committed to achieving an inclusive, prosperous and sustainable Asia and the Pacific. Its ADO report is available at www.adb.org.