Economic News in Brief

In the first two months of 2019, Kazakhstan’s crude oil production increased 5.8 percent year on year and totalled 13.2 million tonnes. The Atyrau region accounted for 64 percent of the total oil production and saw an 11 percent year-on-year increase. The region concentrates major oil producers such as the North Caspian Operating Company, Tengizchevroil and Embamunaigas. The Mangistau and Kyzylorda regions, conversely, decreased their oil production by 1.5 percent (to 21.9 million tonnes) and 7.4 percent (to 969,800 tonnes) respectively. Due to repair works in mid-March at Kashagan and Karachaganak oil fields, Kazakhstan will cut oil production by 200,000 barrels per day. This should noticeably decrease production over the spring, which will also fulfill requirements under the OPEC+ pact.

At the end of February, the number of registered small companies in Kazakhstan had increased by 4.3 percent and totalled 426,400 over a year. Among those registered, the number of currently operating companies reached 277,500, increasing 9.1 percent year on year. The majority of active small companies, comprising 23.7 percent of the total, are in trade and car repair. Their numbers increased 16 percent year on year to approximately 37,100 companies. Construction companies make up the second biggest share at about 15,900, up 26.2 percent year on year. Education sector businesses also had a significant increase of 6.1 percent, reaching 15,100 companies.

The Kazakh government made changes April 1 to its mechanism for assigning targeted social assistance (TSA). The criterion for rendering TSA increased from 50 percent to 70 percent of the subsistence minimum, which expanded the coverage to a vulnerable population of more than 800,000 people. The income per capita reached 164,700 tenge (US$434.5) near the end of 2018, 11.3 percent more than in 2017. Some of the increase in income came from TSA and housing assistance (which grew 33.3 percent year on year) and income from pensions (which increased 25.1 percent). At the same time, per capita income exceeded the population’s expenditures only by 1,500 tenge (US$4). The increase in taxes, payments (up 13.2 percent year on year) and the cost of repaying loans and debts (up 16 percent) increased household spending by 12.1 percent, reaching 163,200 tenge (US$430.5).

Investments in fixed capital in the arts, entertainment and recreation decreased 14.4 percent year on year to 7.7 billion tenge (US$20.31 million). Investments at the expense of bank loans that decreased 99.2 percent for the year affected the investments reduction in the sector. At the same time, investments from local budgets increased 5.5 percent and totalled 4.6 billion tenge (US$12.13 million). Investments from private funds increased 33.6 percent, reaching 2.8 billion tenge (US$7.38 million). Investments with borrowed funds increased 61.7 percent and totalled 200 million tenge (US$527,565). The situation may change by the end of the year with the planned Park Canyon to be built in Charyn Canyon. The entire project will cost 1.5 billion tenge (US$3.96); the first stage will cost 700 million tenge (US$1.85 million).

In the first two months of this year, Kazakhstan extracted 1.1 million tonnes of chrome ores, 6 percent more than in the same period a year earlier. Chrome concentrates production increased 9.7 percent to 743,600 tonnes. Kazchrome, the country’s biggest manufacturer, has plans to build a plant for processing stale slags and refined ferrochrome in the Aktobe region by 2020. The company plans to produce 500,000 tonnes of old slags and 10,000 tonnes of refined ferrochrome per year and the new plant will create 50 jobs. The company plans to export 95 percent of its products to China, Japan, the United States, South Korea and the European Union.