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Kazakhstan Economy Profile

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Economy - overview

Kazakhstan's vast hydrocarbon and mineral reserves form the backbone of its economy. Geographically the largest of the former Soviet republics, excluding Russia, Kazakhstan, g possesses substantial fossil fuel reserves and other minerals and metals, such as uranium, copper, and zinc. It also has a large agricultural sector featuring livestock and grain. The government realizes that its economy suffers from an overreliance on oil and extractive industries and has made initial attempts to diversify its economy by targeting sectors like transport, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, petrochemicals and food processing for greater development and investment. It also adopted a Subsoil Code in December 2017 with the aim of increasing exploration and investment in the hydrocarbon, and particularly mining, sectors.

Kazakhstan's oil production and potential is expanding rapidly. A $36.8 billion expansion of Kazakhstan’s premiere Tengiz oil field by Chevron-led Tengizchevroil should be complete in 2022. Meanwhile, the super-giant Kashagan field finally launched production in October 2016 after years of delay and an estimated $55 billion in development costs. Kazakhstan’s total oil production in 2017 climbed 10.5%.

Kazakhstan is landlocked and depends on Russia to export its oil to Europe. It also exports oil directly to China. In 2010, Kazakhstan joined Russia and Belarus to establish a Customs Union in an effort to boost foreign investment and improve trade. The Customs Union evolved into a Single Economic Space in 2012 and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in January 2015. Supported by rising commodity prices, Kazakhstan’s exports to EAEU countries increased 30.2% in 2017. Imports from EAEU countries grew by 24.1%.

The economic downturn of its EAEU partner, Russia, and the decline in global commodity prices from 2014 to 2016 contributed to an economic slowdown in Kazakhstan. In 2014, Kazakhstan devalued its currency, the tenge, and announced a stimulus package to cope with its economic challenges. In the face of further decline in the ruble, oil prices, and the regional economy, Kazakhstan announced in 2015 it would replace its currency band with a floating exchange rate, leading to a sharp fall in the value of the tenge. Since reaching a low of 391 to the dollar in January 2016, the tenge has modestly appreciated, helped by somewhat higher oil prices. While growth slowed to about 1% in both 2015 and 2016, a moderate recovery in oil prices, relatively stable inflation and foreign exchange rates, and the start of production at Kashagan helped push 2017 GDP growth to 4%.

Despite some positive institutional and legislative changes in the last several years, investors remain concerned about corruption, bureaucracy, and arbitrary law enforcement, especially at the regional and municipal levels. An additional concern is the condition of the country’s banking sector, which suffers from poor asset quality and a lack of transparency. Investors also question the potentially negative effects on the economy of a contested presidential succession as Kazakhstan’s first president, Nursultan NAZARBAYEV, turned 77 in 2017.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$478.6 billion (2017 est.)
$460.3 billion (2016 est.)
$455.3 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)
$159.4 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
6.13% (2019 est.)
4.41% (2018 est.)
4.38% (2017 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$26,300 (2017 est.)
$25,700 (2016 est.)
$25,800 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Gross national saving
23.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
21.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
25.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 53.2% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 11.1% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 22.5% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 4.8% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 35.4% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -27.1% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 4.7% (2017 est.)
industry: 34.1% (2017 est.)
services: 61.2% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
2.6% (2016 est.)
Labor force
8.685 million (2020 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 18.1%
industry: 20.4%
services: 61.6% (2017 est.)
Unemployment rate
4.8% (2019 est.)
4.85% (2018 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 3.8%
male: 3.6%
female: 4% (2016 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 4.2%
highest 10%: 23.3% (2016)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
26.3 (2013)
31.5 (2003)
Budget
revenues: 35.48 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 38.3 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
22.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-1.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt
20.8% of GDP (2017 est.)
19.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
7.4% (2017 est.)
14.6% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate
11% (10 April 2017)
12% (9 January 2017)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
14.17% (31 December 2017 est.)
15.34% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$14.99 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$13.77 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$14.99 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$13.77 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$54.92 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$55.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
$741.7 million (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.737 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$26.23 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
Agriculture - products
grain (mostly spring wheat and barley), potatoes, vegetables, melons; livestock
Industries
oil, coal, iron ore, manganese, chromite, lead, zinc, copper, titanium, bauxite, gold, silver, phosphates, sulfur, uranium, iron and steel; tractors and other agricultural machinery, electric motors, construction materials
Industrial production growth rate
5.8% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance
-$7.206 billion (2019 est.)
-$138 million (2018 est.)
Exports
$49.29 billion (2017 est.)
$37.26 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
oil and oil products, natural gas, ferrous metals, chemicals, machinery, grain, wool, meat, coal
Exports - partners
Italy 17.9%, China 11.9%, Netherlands 9.8%, Russia 9.3%, Switzerland 6.4%, France 5.9% (2017)
Imports
$31.85 billion (2017 est.)
$28.07 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
machinery and equipment, metal products, foodstuffs
Imports - partners
Russia 38.9%, China 16.1%, Germany 5.1%, US 4.3% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$30.75 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$29.53 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external
$167.5 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$163.6 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$161.6 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$143.2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad
$35.04 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$32.74 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rates
tenge (KZT) per US dollar -
326.3 (2017 est.)
342.13 (2016 est.)
342.13 (2015 est.)
221.73 (2014 est.)
179.19 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on Friday, November 27, 2020

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