Economic news in brief

The number of mobile phone subscribers in Kazakhstan decreased over a year by 1.8 percent to 26 million, though the share of subscribers with access to the internet increased by 4.2 percent and now comprises 55.5 percent. Revenues earned by the telecommunications sector totalled 728.7 billion tenge (US$1.93 billion), which is 3.7 percent more than in 2017. The biggest income share came from internet services (33.6 percent). This is followed by mobile communications (29.6 percent, 215.5 billion tenge or US$571.57 million) and local telephone communications (5.4 percent, 39.4 billion tenge or US$104.5 million). Tele2 mobile operator sold 51 percent of its shares to ALTEL 4G and 49 percent to Kazakhtelecom, leaving the Kazakh mobile industry with only two big players: Beeline and Kazakhtelecom. Kazakhtelecom also owns 75 percent of Kcell, giving that company 65 percent of the total market.

Investment companies in Kazakhstan generated 3.2 billion tenge (US$8.49 million) in profit in the first 11 months of 2018. Despite a growth trend in the volume of their assets, their presence in the economy is just 0.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), reports The five largest companies own 86.8 percent (156.3 billion tenge or US$414.56 million) of all the sector’s assets. The industry’s Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI) of 0.18 confirms a high market concentration and, therefore, a low level of competitiveness. Among the largest companies and brokers are Freedom Finance (58.5 billion tenge or US$155.16 million), Halyk Finance (36.6 billion tenge or US$97.07 million) and BCC Invest (27.5 billion tenge or US$72.94 million). The profit of portfolio managers compared to assets is a volatile indicator. Fifteen out of a total of 21 companies recorded cumulative profits of 10.2 billion (US$27.05 million) for the first 11 months of 2018. The remaining six recorded a loss of approximately 7 billion tenge (US$18.56 million).

The volume of postal and courier services reached almost 34 billion tenge (US$90.18 million) over 2018, growing 8.5 percent larger than in 2017. Almaty residents used more than half of the services (56.2 percent), a 2 percent increase to 19.1 billion tenge (US$50.65 million). The second biggest users of postal services are Astana and the Karaganda region, which accounted for 8.8 percent and 4.2 percent respectively. The wages of workers in postal and courier services increased by 10.6 percent to 112,600 tenge (US$298.7). However, they are still below the average national salary of 158,700 tenge (US$420.9).

Kazakhstan’s pension savings amounted to 9.1 trillion tenge (US$24.14 billion), an increase of 19.1 percent over 2018, reports The growth is mainly associated with Kazakh National Bank’s active investment of 800.2 billion tenge (US$2.12 trillion). At the same time, the Unified Accumulated Pension Fund’s (UAPF’s) investment management of pension assets report stated that the value of quasi-state organisations’ bonds increased by 448.6 billion tenge (US$1.19 billion) in November and totalled 1.2 trillion tenge (US$3.18 million). The report indicated that it is the acquisition of KazAgro securities and depositary receipts of Kazatomprom of 56.1 billion tenge (US$148.79) that were placed on the Astana International Stock Exchange (AIX).

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