By Kamila Aliyeva
GDP growth in Kazakhstan in 2017 amounted to 4 percent according to preliminary data, Kazakh Minister of National Economy Timur Suleimenov said at a governmental meeting, Kazinform reported.
“The main result of 2017 for the Kazakh economy was the activation of recovery processes with the country's progressive transition to higher growth rates. According to the preliminary results of 2017, GDP growth was 4 percent. Economic growth was balanced with synchronous improvement in virtually all segments of economic activity,” he noted.
The main catalysts for growth were the expansion of production in the traded sectors, the increase in investment activity and the gradual recovery of domestic demand, according to the minister.
The external environment also positively influenced intra-economic activity.
The official attributed higher price conjuncture for oil and metals, as well as improvement of the economic situation in the EU, Russia and China - the main trade partners - to factors of positive external conditions.
“As a result, positive shifts in foreign trade are recorded. Following the results of 11 months, exports to Russia grew by 33 percent, to the EU – by 31percent and China – by 34.9 percent,” he explained.
The minister noted that the price factor played a key role in activating the recovery processes.
Inflationary background, compared with 2016, dropped by 1.4 percentage points, amounting to 7.1 percent, he said.
“Along with this, in 2017, labor market indicators remained stable and the unemployment rate was 5 percent,” Suleimenov added.
At the same time, as of December 1, 2017, the assets of the National Fund amounted to $57.6 billion, even taking into account the significant attraction of funds to support the country's financial sector.
Meanwhile, he noted, the implementation of measures to develop the banking sector and improve the overall economic situation have formed prerequisites for the beginning of the recovery phase of the loan cycle.
“In general, the positive dynamics of economic growth, the improvement of the balance of payments and increase in production capacity ensured confirmation of the level of investment reliability of Kazakhstan by international rating agencies and allowed to change the outlook from Negative to Stable in 2017,” he concluded.
The Asian Development Bank earlier raised the growth forecast for 2018 for Kazakhstan to 3.3 percent. It is expected that Kazakhstan, which is an exporter of hydrocarbons, will benefit from the recent increase in oil prices.
Suleimenov also announced forecasts for oil production in 2018. The production level should be no less than in 2017, according to the minister.
“Firstly, we can all congratulate and say thanks to our oil industry workers. As many as 86.2 million tons is a record volume of oil production for the entire history of the country. It significantly helped, frankly, in achieving 4 percent of GDP growth (in 2017). For this year we are planning, more precisely, colleagues from the Ministry of Energy, that the extraction will be approximately the same and maybe even slightly higher. The Energy Ministry will have specific figures when specifying the macro forecast,” the minister said.
As for the forecast of oil prices, he referred to the official macro forecast - $45 per barrel.
Kamila Aliyeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Kami_Aliyeva
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