International Credit Rating on the Republic of Kazakhstan
On June 10, 2004 the leading international rating agency Standard & Poor's published new report on international credit rating on the Republic of Kazakhstan. The given material represents the subset of this report. Standard & Poor's company grants the permission to this publication in the our magazine. You can find the original version on RatingsDirect Web site at www.standardandpoors.corn/ratingsdirect.
· Local currency : BBB/Stable/A-3
· Foreign currency: BBB-/Stable/A-3
May 2004. Long-term local and foreign currency ratings raised to 'BBB/BBB-'; short-term foreign currency rating raised to 'A-3'; outlook stable.
May 2003. Long-term local and foreign currency ratings raised to 'BBB-/BB+'; short-term local currency rating raised to 'A-3'; outlook stable.
June 2002. Outlook revised to positive from stable.
May 2001. Long-term local and foreign currency ratings raised to 'BB+/BB'.
July 2000. Long-term local and foreign currency ratings raised to 'BB/BB-'.
December 1999. Outlook revised to stable from negative .
September 1998. Long-term local and foreign currency ratings lowered to 'BB-/B+'.
November 1996. 'BB+/B' local currency and 'BB-/B' foreign currency ratings assigned; outlook stable.
Default History Since 1975: None
MAJOR RATING FACTORS
· The maintenance of prudent fiscal and monetary policies, which limit deficits and inflation.
· Very good economic prospects, despite vulnerability to oil price declines.
· A strong external position.
· The centralized and opaque nature of governance, along with weak institutional and legal systems.
· A weak, albeit strengthening, economic structure.
Kazakhstan enjoys good economic prospects, despite its dependence on oil prices. Over the past decade, it has attracted substantial domestic and foreign capital. This, along with prudent policies, led to sustained high annual per capita growth rates of more than 10% on average for the past five years. In 2004 and 2005, growth will continue at 8.8% and 7.0%, respectively. Moreover, with continuous increases in investment, production, and export capacities in the oil and gas sectors, Kazakhstan is able to enjoy robust potential growth and low fiscal deficits, even in the face of low oil prices. Additionally, with the creation of the National Reserve Fund (National Fund)—expected to reach about $4.8 billion by year-end 2004—a substantial fiscal buffer has been created.
The government has maintained prudent fiscal and monetary policies, which have limited budget deficits and inflation. A small fiscal surplus is expected in 2004, of about 2.2% of GDP before tax revenue transfers to the National Fund (a deficit of about 0.8% after transfers). General government debt is projected to be a manageable 12.3% of GDP at the end of 2004, and will continue to decrease over the next few years by about 1.5%-2.0% of GDP annually. Meanwhile, macroeconomic stabilization should continue, with price growth estimated at 6.4% in 2004 and economic expansion at about 8.8%.
A strong external position is also supporting the ratings. Public sector net external assets are expected to reach about 63.3% of current account receipts (CARs) by 2005, compared with an estimated 48.6% in 2004. External liquidity remains high due to expected current account surpluses and very high net foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows. The current account balance is expected to record a surplus estimated at 1.3% of GDP in 2004, compared with a deficit of 0.2% of GDP in 2003, and is expected to remain in surplus in the medium term because import growth will be only moderate, while exports-especially oil and gas-will increase more strongly.
The ratings are constrained, however, by a highly centralized political system and weak economic structure. The centralized and opaque nature of governance, along with weak institutional and legal systems, renders policy-making less predictable than in similarly rated countries—despite recent political liberalization. That said, the Kazakh authorities have shown a consistent commitment to market reforms and prudent fiscal and monetary policies over the past few years. The ratings also continue to be weakened by an economic structure that is characterized by low—although fast-increasing—per capita income (estimated at $2,504 in 2004) and large regional development disparities. Looking ahead, significant growth and exports in the oil and gas sectors will, however, ensure strong per capita income growth over the next few years.
The stable outlook reflects Standard & Poor's expectation that the government will continue to pursue a fiscal policy that is aimed at decreasing the public sector debt burden, while gradually addressing growing spending needs in the social sector, government employee pensions, and physical infrastructure. Even a sharp decline in oil prices (down to $15.0 per barrel) is not expected to lead to lower sovereign creditworthiness, as the government has accumulated sufficient funds to sustain such a cost on the budget for about three years without impairing its original fiscal targets. A continued strengthening of the government's financial position, an improvement in governance and business environment, and an acceleration of structural reforms would further enhance the country's credit standing.
· Kazakhstan's very low net public external debt and its net general government asset position compare very favorably with 'BBB1 rated peers.
· With regard to macroeconomic stability, Kazakhstan compares favorably with most 'BBB'-rated peers and is now on a par with, or even surpassing, other rated transition countries.
· Political liberalization is taking place, but at a slower pace than most peers.
· Problems of low per capita income are still more pronounced in Kazakhstan than in higher-rated transition economies. Nevertheless, high net FDI inflows should help to restructure the economy, as well as underpin a more robust external liquidity position than most 'BBB'-rated peers.
Stronger external and fiscal indicators than 'BBB' peers.
The ratings on Kazakhstan are mainly supported by its comparatively strong external and fiscal positions. Net public external debt has decreased sharply, and Kazakhstan is expected to post a net asset position of 48.6% of CARs in 2004, compared with a net debt position of 16.8% in 2000. This compares favorably with the 'BBB' median (net external asset position of about 12.3% of CARs) (see Chart 1). The Kazakh government's borrowing requirements have been lower-than-average for its peer group, on the back of a much stronger macroeconomic performance and more prudent fiscal policies than in many other 'BBB' rated countries. Kazakhstan's general government debt decreased to 14.0% of GDP in 2003 and 12.3% in 2004, which is considerably lower than the 'BBB' median (40.1% and 41.2%, respectively) (see Chart 2). As a result, the ratio of interest payments to general government revenues, at 4.2% in 2004, is lower than the 'BBB' median (10.0%). Moreover, Kazakhstan's general government is expected to post a surplus of 2.2% of GDP this year before tax revenue transfers to the National Fund (or a 0.8% deficit after the transfers), which is better than the 'BBB' median of a 2.8% deficit in 2004 (see Chart 3).
Successful macroeconomic stabilization stands out.
Overall, Kazakhstan's stabilizing single-digit inflation level, burgeoning production, export, and investment trends, and economic growth (expected at 8.5%, in 2004) compare very favorably with its peers. The 'BBB' median for per capita GDP growth is expected at 4.2%, in 2004 (see Chart 4). Average per capita GDP growth in Kazakhstan has been at least twice the 'BBB' median for the past five years. This is not only due to higher oil prices, but also to greater oil and gas export volumes. These were fuelled by increased production and export capacities, mostly on the back of FDI. Prudent financial and fiscal policies have made this growth more sustainable and underpinned a much more successful process of macroeconomic stabilization than in some other rated transition economies, including The Russian Federation (foreign currency BB+/Stable/B; all references to ratings hereafter are to foreign currency sovereign credit ratings), the Republic of Romania (BB/Positive/B), and the Republic of Bulgaria (BB+/Stable/B). Notably, Kazakhstan has enjoyed more success than Russia in tackling inflation (see Chart 5). This macroeconomic performance also compares well with those of low 'BBB' rated countries such as the United Mexican States and the Republic of Croatia (both BBB-/Stable/A-3), or even the fast-growing Republic of Tunisia (BBB/Stable/A-3) and Kingdom of Thailand (BBB/Positive/A-2) (see Chart 4).
Slow political liberalization relative to peers.
As a result of the highly centralized nature of its political system, risks associated with leadership succession and transition weigh more heavily on Kazakhstan than on most of its peers-including the Republic of South Africa (BBB/Stable/A-3), the Republic of Latvia and the Slovak Republic (both BBB+/Positive/A-2), and the Republic of Poland (BBB+/Negative/A-2). This renders policy-making less predictable than in similarly rated countries. The opposition is relatively weak, however, while the political elite in place is relatively stable. There is a broad consensus within this elite for market-oriented policies and reforms.
Overall, Kazakhstan's institutional organization is comparable with that of Tunisia and the Sultanate of Oman (BBB/Stable/A-3), both of which have very centralized decision-making and poor democratic development beyond the legal parties and trade unions. Opposition is limited beyond the official parliamentary parties. That said, the political liberalization of the past two years (see section headed "Political Environment") permitted greater representation for the opposition than is the case in Tunisia. Moreover, compared with Tunisia and Oman, the succession issue is clearer. The succession mechanism and democracy still compare negatively, however, with the vibrant democratic structures in South Africa.
Promise of fast income growth despite structural weaknesses.
The economy remains narrowly based and dependent on commodities and is therefore vulnerable to external shocks. This is similar to Oman, Mexico and Russia, which export significant volumes of commodities sensitive to international price fluctuations. In addition, Kazakhstan remains a poor country, with GDP per capita estimated at $2,504 in 2004, which still compares unfavorably with the 'BBB' median ($5,843) (see Chart 6).
Nevertheless, due to its substantial natural resources and small population (about 15.0 million), Kazakhstan's per capita income is rising rapidly. This should continue, provided that resources are exploited effectively and new export routes are secured. In turn, this depends crucially on FDI inflows. Despite controversial changes to investment legislation in 2002, FDI is expected to remain high. Inflows reached about 7.4% of GDP in 2003 and are expected to remain at 4.0%-5.0% of GDP at least in the coming two-to-three years. In this respect, Kazakhstan's track record is significantly stronger than that of all sovereigns in the 'BBB' category (see Chart 7), apart from the Republic of Trinidad &Tobago (BBB/Stable/A-2; 5.6% in 2003), and the Slovak Republic (17.0% in 2002). In 2004, official reserves are expected to cover 96.2% of the country's external financing gap (see Chart 8), compared with 62.4% in 2003 (209% compared with 116%, respectively, when net FDI is excluded). This coverage ratio is comparable with the 'BBB' median, and much stronger than the median when net FDI is excluded from the external financing gap.
· President Nazarbayev maintains a firm and unchallenged hold on power, which promises policy continuity as long as he remains in office. The centralized and opaque nature of governance, along with weak institutional and legal systems, however, still constrain public governance.
· The ongoing political liberalization has reduced the risks associated with succession by providing a viable alternative to the president's current power.
· Both key institutions and political consensus toward market-oriented policies underpin a sustained and strong commitment to market reforms.
· Relations with international organizations are being strengthened, but accession to the World Trade Organization is still a long way off. The government seeks to maintain good relations with the U.S., Russia, and other neighboring countries through security agreements and/or support for the main oil-related investment projects.
A highly centralized decision-making process.
The still highly centralized nature of the Kazakh political system, the lack of transparency in policy-making, and uncertainties over political succession and transition weigh heavily on Kazakhstan's credit standing. The 1999 general election resulted in a comfortable majority for both President Nazarbayev—reelected for another seven-year term—and his supporters in the lower house of parliament. The president, currently in his early sixties, maintains a firm and virtually unchallenged hold on power, which promises policy continuity as long as he remains in office. President Nazarbayev has already indicated that he will run for another term in the 2006 elections. Prime Minister Danial Akhmetov, like his predecessors, follows and implements presidential policy, which continues to prioritize economic reform over political liberalization.
Gradual political liberalization decreasing succession risks.
The Kazakh economy is changing rapidly toward a more modern and vibrant one. Since independence, certain crucial reforms necessary for establishing the transition to a market economy have been enacted. Notably, these include financial system, fiscal, and tax administration reforms, privatization, and prudent monetary policy.
Furthermore, over the past two years, a timid political liberalization has been allowed. A new opposition group, Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DCK), was created in November 2001. Although it is not expected to constitute strong opposition any time soon, its creation reflected the desire among the elite for a wider political debate. Despite of DCK representatives outspoken opposition to the president, the administration did permit a spin-off party called "Ak-Zhol" (the Bright Road) to be registered for the next parliamentary elections that should take place in September 2004. Meanwhile, one of the daughters of the president, Dariga Nazerbayeva created her own party called "Asar" (All Together). Nevertheless, Asar and Otan (Fatherland; the party of the president) are still expected to retain most of the votes in the next parliamentary elections.
Limited risk of change to the current prudent policy direction.
Prudent fiscal and monetary policies are well entrenched. A number of the current institutions function well such as the ministries of economy and finance. Moreover, the Council of Foreign Investors has been able to manage the relationship between the president and foreign investors, and the NBK has a long track record of maintaining the stability of the financial system. As a result, Standard & Poor's does not expect the government's ability to respond to domestic and external shocks to be impaired by political instability.
Reforms are sustained, but their pace fluctuates.
The government's continued commitment to market-oriented reforms, as well as improved confidence in the banking sector, and an increasing deposit base, should deepen the financial system and bolster economic growth. Nevertheless, willingness to accelerate reforms wanes when oil windfalls rise. This has sometimes resulted in a degree of economic nationalism, with the authorities pushing foreign companies to hire locals and source supplies from local companies (as part of an import substitution program). The government recently decided to increase support for non-oil sectors via new innovation and investment funds. This will complement the support for diversification already offered by the publicly owned Development Bank of Kazakhstan.
External security risks contained.
External security risks arising from neighboring countries are considered low, and have been further preempted by the bolstering of Kazakhstan's border controls with the assistance of both Russia and the U.S. There are Islamist insurgents in Central Asia, but they operate mainly in Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and do not pose a material security threat to Kazakhstan. In addition, a number of bilateral agreements have recently been signed with almost all littoral states regarding the division of the Caspian seabed. Lastly, following the finalization of the border with China in 2002, the two countries are cooperating actively, especially on a number of long-term projects such as pipelines and refineries.
· The economy will continue to grow by a high 8.8% in 2004 and 7.0% in 2005, driven by a solid revival in domestic demand and strong output across all sectors.
· Continued prudence in economic and financial management will help to keep inflation under control, lower real interest rates, and increase confidence and private investment.
· Despite improvements, the contribution to growth of nonresource-based industries remains weak. A small population and large FDI inflows will, over time, partly overcome the economy's structural weaknesses.
Kazakhstan's economy continues to be characterized by low per capita income and large regional development disparities, as well as slow enterprise restructuring outside the oil and gas sectors. Nevertheless, loss-making enterprises (mostly public) are present in only a very limited number of economic sectors and regions, and are not expected to place a significant burden on GDP growth. Moreover, a number of key sectors (oil, gas, metals, construction, and finance) are experiencing an extremely rapid transformation. This, coupled with large and sustained FDI inflows, has the potential to reduce some of the economy's structural weaknesses. In particular, significant growth and exports in the oil and gas sectors will ensure a strong increase in per capita income over the next few years.
The continuation of prudent fiscal and monetary policies will be sufficient to ensure Kazakhstan's macroeconomic stability in the next few years, but Standard & Poor's considers that the significant need for restructuring in the corporate sector has to be addressed. There also remain significant pitfalls in the business environment such as the inefficiency of property rights, perceived corruption, and a lack of coordination between different levels of administration, resulting in considerable red tape. Nevertheless, certain improvements are now apparent: net enterprise arrears have decreased; the new bankruptcy law introduced in January 1999—which remained ineffective until 2001—is now used actively, and shareholder rights are better protected as a result.
Rising oil production and export capacity will boost Kazakhstan's nominal exports by about 17.0% in 2004 (see Table 2).
Domestic demand will also be boosted in 2004 by the large increases in real monthly wages last year (8.5%), increased profits, and decreasing real interest rates in a lower inflation environment. Domestic demand is expected to rise by 9.5% in 2004 and about 9.4% in 2005, while GDP growth is expected to be more than 8.8% in 2004 and about 7.0% in 2005. As population growth is slow, per capita GDP is expected to increase by at least 4.0% on average in the worst-case scenario (see Chart 9, oil price at $15.0 per barrel), and by 6.6%-8.5% in the baseline scenario (average price at $31.4 per barrel for 2004).
Growth prospects are improving further on the back of pipeline upgrades, new pipelines, and production at new oil and gas fields. In 2006-2007, the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) pipeline will be nearing completion, with a capacity of about 38 million tons per year, and the Kashagan offshore field will come onstream. The Kashagan field is expected to export an estimated 400,000 barrels per day through the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline by 2007. This should more than offset any negative effect on the trade balance from possible falls in commodity prices. It should also enable Kazakhstan to reduce its dependence on CPC and Transneft pipelines, all of which transit via Russia.
Overall, Standard & Poor's estimates that, even in the event of a fall in oil prices to $15.0 per barrel for a period of one year, trend growth would remain higher than 4% in real terms. Persistently low oil prices (below $15.0 per barrel) would have a negative impact on volumes produced and exported, but such a scenario is considered extremely unlikely.
· The general government balance is expected to post a surplus of 2.2% of GDP in 2004 (before transfers to the National Fund). The Fund is expected to reach more than $4.8 billion in 2004.
· The government balance-partly insulated by automatic transfers from the National Fund in the event of lower-than-expected oil prices-should, at most, post small deficits of less than 2%-3% of GDP (after transfers from the National Fund), even in the case of a drop in oil price to $15.0 per barrel.
· General government debt remains moderate, at about 12.3% of GDP in 2004, and the public sector as a whole will reach a small net asset position of 1.6% of GDP this year.
· Off-budget and contingent liabilities are limited, as nonperforming loans are decreasing and the large public enterprises are profitable.
Revenue, expenditure, and balance performance.
After a surplus of 2.0% of GDP in 2003, the general government will again post a surplus in 2004, of an estimated 2.2% of GDP (a 0.8% deficit after transfers to the National Fund) (see Chart 10).
The government is choosing to spend tax windfalls, notably on increasing public wages, development (such as roads, housing, and education), and tax cuts, rather than continuing to accumulate assets. On January 1, 2004, the rate of VAT fell by 1 percentage point, to 15%, and social payroll taxes to a scaled range of 7%-20%, from 21%.
In the baseline scenario, the general government balance—before transfers to the National Fund—is expected to record a small surplus of 1.4%-1.6% of GDP over the 2005-2007 period (corresponding to oil prices between $26.6 and $27.6 per barrel).
The National Fund—expected to reach at least $4.8 billion in 2004 (about 12.4% of GDP)—will smooth the effects of any lower-than-budgeted oil prices. In this event, transfers would be made from the fund back to the budget automatically, keeping the deficit at less than 2%-3% of GDP in the next few years.
The privatization program is likely to remain modest for large companies. Total privatization revenues in 2004 are projected at Kazakh tenge (KZT) 5 billion ($37 million) or 0.1% of GDP, including a 15% stake in metallurgy company Ust-Kamenogorsk Titanum-Magnesium Combine, as well as the 100% privatization of Eximbank Kazakhstan.
Debt and interest burden.
The government reduced its external debt by fully reimbursing a $350 million Eurobond due at year-end 2002 and should also reimburse, probably without refinancing, the $300 million Eurobond maturing in October this year. The net borrowing requirement in 2004 is expected to remain moderate, at only KZT48 billion (0.9% of GDP), and will be financed mainly through domestic issuance.
Overall, general government debt is expected to decrease in 2004-2007, to a modest 7.9% of GDP (see Chart 11 and Table 3). Although about 80% of the total debt expected in 2004 is denominated in foreign currency, the bulk of it is medium and long term, with a significant part held by residents (including more than 50% of the $650 million in outstanding Eurobonds held by pension funds). The ratio of interest payments to general government revenues should remain modest, at 2.9% in 2004 and 2.2% in 2005.
Including National Fund assets, the public sector was in a net asset position in 2004 (17.0% of GDP), for the third consecutive year. The public sector net asset position is expected to reach about 21.0% of GDP in 2005.
Off-budget and contingent liabilities.
The impact of the 1999 devaluation on the Kazakh banking system turned out to be limited, with banks taking advantage of the growing economy, a continued increase in confidence among depositors, more sustainable credit growth, and growing oil and gas enterprise profits. Rapid economic growth has sharply increased demand for credit, but the system remains robust and benefits from strict, improved supervision by the NBK. In a reasonable worst-case scenario, Standard & Poor's estimates gross problematic assets in the banking sector in the event of financial system stress at 50%-75% of domestic credit to the nongovernmental sector. That said, the resulting contingent liability is only 11.8%-17.7% of GDP. The total public sector debt outside general government is estimated at 5.1% of GDP, of which 70.6% is in the form of bank loans. As a result, these represent a relatively low contingent liability for the sovereign.
· Tight monetary policy has stabilized inflation while maintaining high confidence in the currency. As a result, external competitiveness, which improved after the 1999 devaluation, has been preserved despite current real appreciation, especially against the U.S. dollar.
· Large capital inflows increasingly present monetary policy with conflicting objectives-price stability on one hand, and the maintenance of competitiveness and build-up of currency reserves on the other. This recently led the NBK to allow the exchange rate to float more freely.
Tight monetary and fiscal policies will further lower inflation.
The NBK has successfully brought inflation below 7.0% (to a 6.4% average in 2003) by containing monetary growth and using base money as its key intermediate target (see Chart 12). The government is using the fledgling treasury bill market to ensure no inflationary financing of the budget deficit, and the NBK is developing open-market operations to control reserve money. A gradual decrease in inflation is expected in 2005-2007, especially on the back of the strong tenge. High economic growth and increases in wages, however, are expected to prevent a more rapid decline in price growth.
Exchange rate policy: the tenge is expected to appreciate.
The NBK exchange rate policy is sustainable, but increasingly costly. Although the exchange rate is supposed to be floating, in practice it is nominally anchored for the conduct of monetary policy. The NBK has shown only one-way flexibility, the NBK ensured a nominal depreciation of the currency by purchasing U.S. dollars in the face of strong inflows. Without such sterilization, the exchange rate would have appreciated, putting pressure on external competitiveness, especially with respect to the Russian ruble. The NBK's interventions are consistent with the preservation of external competitiveness and a buildup of reserves. In response to the growing tension between NBK objectives (inflation versus competitiveness), the authorities have decided to allow the currency to float more freely. The monetary program for the next few years includes a slow nominal appreciation of the tenge against the dollar. Convertibility applies to all current account transactions and some capital transactions, notably capital repatriation by foreign investors and borrowing abroad by Kazakh companies. A fully liberalized capital account is expected by 2006-2007.
· Kazakhstan's external liquidity has increased over the past 12 months, and remains robust on the back of high foreign currency reserves and high foreign direct investments.
· The current account is expected to post a surplus of 1.3% of GDP in 2004, compared with a small deficit of 0.2% in 2003. This is mainly due to higher oil prices, and a sustained increase in oil and gas export volumes.
· As a result, the ratio of net external debt to CARs is expected to fall to about 2.9% in 2004, and a net asset position of 6.3% is expected in 2005.
The current account will post a small surplus of 1.3% of GDP in 2004 or 2.8% of CARs (see Chart 13). On the back of higher export prices and increased oil output and export capacities, merchandise exports will rise by about 17% in 2004 in dollar terms. These trends are further supported by Kazakhstan's trade reorientation toward non-CIS countries (which now account for almost 80% of exports), the improved economic prospects in the country's major CIS markets, and the maintenance of high external competitiveness since the 1999 devaluation of the tenge.
The country continues to enjoy high external liquidity, as a result of low current account deficits, the accumulation of foreign exchange reserves, the government's policy of repaying its external debt, and a decrease in the government's net borrowing requirement. The ratio of official reserves to the external financing gap (that is, the current account deficit, long-term principal amortization, and short-term debt) is expected to increase to 143% of CARs by the end of 2004, and to 187% in 2005, from 95% in 2003. Subtracting net FDI inflows from the external financing gap, the ratio of reserves to the financing gap is estimated at a comfortable 204% in 2004, and forecast at 264% in 2005, rising to more than 300% in 2006-2007.
Public sector external debt.
In 2004-2005, non-FDI external financing will continue to consist mostly of private sector borrowing, with the share of public financing decreasing gradually. Public sector external borrowing will be dominated for the next two-to-three years by official loan disbursements, particularly from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Asian Development Bank (all rated AAA/Stable/A-1+). Due to the repayment of an IMF credit in 2000—along with the full repayment of the two Eurobonds in 2002 and 2004 without refinancing, and an expected increase in National Fund assets-the public sector will post a net external asset position of about 48.6% of CARs in 2004, from a net external debt position of 17.0% in 2000. This net external asset position will continue to strengthen in 2005-2007, to an estimated 80% of CARs.
Private sector external debt.
Kazakhstan's gross external debt (excluding parent companies' claims on subsidiaries) is expected to increase slowly to about $17.7 billion by year-end 2004, compared with $16 billion in 2003. This increase is due to an expected rise in the net external borrowing requirement of banks and private companies, both with large foreign currency revenues, and mostly linked to the oil and gas sector. In 2005-2007, the total private enterprise external debt should trend lower, to about 30% of CARs. Total short-term debt remains limited and is estimated at about 22% of total external debt in 2004. Nonbank private sector net external debt remains limited to about 35.8% of CARs, and increases in the debt are mostly due to intercompany loans. Financial sector net external debt remains limited to about 16.3% of CARs. -Hill Companies
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