Economic news in brief

The tax burden for Kazakhs earning less than 63,100 tenge (US$167) a month has been reduced by 90 percent as of this January. According to the Statistics Committee, every fifth citizen falls into the category. The highest share of low wages earners exists in the education and industry sectors and reaches 37.2 percent and 23.1 percent, respectively. Tax revenues to the state budget increased by 15.8 percent over a year and totalled 7.9 trillion tenge (US$20.91 billion). The value added tax constituted 37.1 percent – 2 trillion tenge or US$5.29 billion – of all tax revenues.

Kazakhstan’s domestic copper ore production volumes reached a record high of 103.2 million tonnes, an 8.2 percent increase compared to 2017. The key event in the industry was the incorporation of BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest hedge fund, into KAZ Minerals’ shareholders, reports At the end of 2018, the assets managed by the hedge fund amounted to $6 trillion. Copper concentrates production increased by 15.7 percent over a year to 12.9 million tonnes. Copper-zinc ore mining totalled 4.8 million tonnes, which is 4.2 percent less than in the same period last year.

The trading volume on the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE) decreased by 15.6 percent to 127.8 trillion tenge (US$338.25 billion) in 2018, the most significant decline since the KASE’s launch. The influence of the stock market in the economy decreased from 32.2 percent to 29.2 percent. The maximum trading volume in 2018 was recorded in January (12.4 trillion tenge or US$32.82 billion), the minimum in December (9.5 trillion tenge or US$25.14 billion). The capitalisation of the stock market decreased by 10.5 percent to 15.5 trillion tenge (US$41.02 billion) and its share of gross domestic product (GDP) is now 29.2 percent, compared to 32.2 percent in 2017. The money market decreased by 19.3 percent a year, but still constituted 85.7 percent share. The reason for the money market’s decrease was a 45.6 percent drop in trading volume on currency swap transactions, down to 33.7 trillion tenge (US$89.19 billion).

The securities market showed a positive trend for 2018. Trading volumes grew 41.2 percent over the year, totalling 4.9 trillion tenge (US$12.97 billion). Its proportion of the total trading volume remained at 3.8 percent. The corporate bonds sector concentrated 1.8 percent (2.3 trillion tenge or US$6.09 billion) of the total trading volume, the sector of shares 0.4 percent (539.8 billion tenge or US$1.43 billion). The number of shares listed on the KASE and the number of their issuers increased to a record-setting 130 and 113, respectively. Twenty new issuers passed the listing, of which 13 were in the equity sector, six in the corporate bond sector and one in the central bank of exchange-traded funds. Among the liquid shares, KEGOC national transmission grid operator and KazTransOil national company had the largest trading volumes of 9.4 billion tenge (US$24.88 million) and 9.3 trillion tenge (US$24.61 billion), respectively.

Domestic funds are interested in Kazakhstan’s transition to a green economy. The Akmola region is building a wind farm worth more than $130 million. The preliminary results of 2018 shows that investments in environmental protection increased 2.5 times year on year and amounted to 80.2 billion tenge (US$22.3 million). This is a record value in Kazakhstan’s history of investment in this area. The competitiveness of green technologies in the national economy is increasing. There are 65 renewable energy facilities, including 12 wind, 19 solar, 33 hydroelectric power plants and one biogas plant. The three leading regions are Akmola (25.7 billion tenge or US$68.02 million), Zhambyl (12.7 billion tenge or US$33.61 million) and Atyrau (9.1 billion tenge or US$24.08 million). Kazyna Capital Management holds a 23.55 percent share in the authorised capital of the project and is involved in the construction of wind power stations.