Economic news in brief

Kazakhstan’s employed population increased 1.5 percent to 8.8 million by the end of July. Of this figure, 66.7 percent of those aged 15 and over are employed. Hired workers compose the majority of 76.1 percent or 6.7 million; self-employed, 23.9 percent or 2.1 million. The education sector leads the top three fields with 16.1 percent or 1.1 million, followed by industrial workers (15.7 percent or one million) and wholesale and retail trade, car and motorcycle repair (10.9 percent or 724,900). According to the Ministry of National Economy’s Statistics Committee, schoolteachers (352,200) head the top 10 most common professions; next in the list are accountants (268,200).

Investments in education decreased 10.2 percent year-on-year (yoy) from January-July, totalling 92.8 billion tenge (US$240.67 million) with 87.7 percent volume index. The reductions started during same period in 2018, decreasing 16.4 percent to 103.3 billion tenge (US$267.9 million). The share of educational investments decreased from 1.9 percent to 1.5 percent in total fixed asset investments. The Turkestan Region, Nur-Sultan and Almaty consolidated 51 percent of all investments. The region had the biggest bulk of investment and yoy increase of 19.5 billion tenge (US$50.57 million), a 74.5-percent increase. Investments in the biggest cities, however, have decreased – in Nur-Sultan by 7.5 percent (to 17.7 billion tenge or US$45.90 million) and Almaty by 26.4 percent (to 10.1 billion tenge or US$26.19 million).

Loans from domestic financing companies decreased 30 percent during the last five years. At the same time, the equity share of domestic financing enterprises has increased from 58 percent to 73 percent. The reason was a sharp decrease in borrowed funds in 2017, caused by a 77.4-percent decrease in foreign financing. The Kazakh investment policy has showed a gradual improvement in foreign loans in the first half of 2019. Loans from non-residents, in particular, reached 101.8 billion tenge (US$264.01 million), which is 37.6 percent of total loans (32.8 percent in 2018).

External investments reached 1.9 trillion tenge (US$4.93 million) in the first half of 2019, an increase of 39 percent year-on-year (yoy), reported FinReview. By 2025, the Kazakh government plans to increase annual foreign direct investment from the current $24 billion to $34 billion. Prime Minister Askar Mamin, speaking at an expanded government meeting, set the task to increase annual investment volume in fixed assets by an average of 20 percent. To achieve this, Kazakhstan must attract 30 trillion tenge (US$77.80 billion) in investments within five years. To date, 12.4 trillion tenge (US$32.16 billion) in government projects need to attract a yearly average of three trillion tenge (US$7.78 billion) of investments.

According to the Kazakh Ministry of Trade and Integration, approximately 40 percent of trade is in the shadows, or not subject to taxation. One of the mechanisms to remedy the situation is modernising trade infrastructure, including trade markets. The ministry plans to gradually switch all non-stationary markets to modern trading formats. Work is underway to construct wholesale distribution centres. In addition, the department is working to develop the e-commerce sector. From January-June, the volume of non-cash payments increased more than two times per year to 4.8 trillion tenge (US$12.45 billion). For the same period in 2018, non-cash payments were 2.2 trillion tenge (US$5.71 billion).

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