Bangkok (UN Information Services) – Kazakhstan’s economic growth is forecast to slow to an average eight per cent annually in 2008-2009 amid concerns over rising inflation and banking sector liquidity problems, according to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
In its Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific, ESCAP said the economy grew by 9.7 per cent in the first nine months of 2007 thanks to a favourable wheat harvest of more than 20 million tons, up over three million tons from 2006. The retail sector was also higher.
At the same time, economic recovery and growth over the past decade has led to a sharp fall in the proportion of people living below the national poverty line. It stood at 18.2 per cent in 2006, down from 43.4 per cent in 1998. However, income inequality increased over the period 1988 to 2003. “Income inequality remains a major challenge for the economy,” ESCAP said.
Key sources of growth remain the rising volumes of oil and gas exports which together with high global hydrocarbon prices have buoyed Kazakhstan’s foreign trade surpluses for 2007. The surplus on trade is expected to grow further in 2008-2009 to $16 billion, due to rising oil prices.
But concerns arose over the banking sector’s liquidity problems. These have led to the government intervening to stabilize the slowdown in banking sector credit growth that had a positive effect on prices.
ESCAP added that a slowing growth in world gross domestic product could dampen demand for industrial raw materials from 2008 leaving to a “modest downturn in prices, including for metals and oil – the main sources of export revenue of Kazakhstan.”
Further information on the Survey can be found at:
For more information, please contact:
Hak-Fan Lau, UN Information Services, ESCAP
Tel.: +66-2-288-1866, Mob.: +66-84700-1147
Ari Gaitanis, UN Information Services, ESCAP
Tel.: +66-2-288-1862, Fax: +66-2-288-1052