Yuri Shokamanov, PhD, Professor, Director of the Department of Statistics at the Eurasian Economic Commission
Although in the first half of 2012 the main macroeconomic indicators of Kazakhstan showed an upward trend, it will be unlikely to repeat last year's growth of 7.5%. This is due to a lower industrial output and the expected decline in agricultural produce this year, against the backdrop of last year's high harvest of grain. However, the growth of the domestic economy, following the end of the year, is likely to be around 5%.
In the first quarter of 2012 Kazakhstan’s GDP grew by 5.6% and, by preliminary estimates, will remain at same level in the second quarter of 20121. With this, according to data of the Customs Control Committee of the Ministry of Finance, the foreign trade turnover of the country in January–May 2012 was 20.5% higher than the same period last year. As of June 1, 2012, budgetary inflows increased by 10.5%, while the budgetary expenditure by 22%.
1.See the website of Kazakhstan’s Agency for Statistics http://www.stat.kz/publishing/Pages/aktual_statdata.aspx
Socio-Economic Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan Magazine, June 2012/ Volume 1, p.71.
Inflation in the first half 2012 was below the target – 5%, compared to the same period of 2011. Real wages and real income of the population increased by 12% and 6.7%, respectively, compared to May last year.
According to data of the Interstate Statistical Committee of the CIS, in the first quarter of 2012 the Commonwealth states marked an overall economic growth of 4.7%: in Russia it was 4.9%, in Belarus 2.9% (in January–June 2012), and in Kazakhstan 5.6% (Table 1)2.
2.See the website of the Interstate Statistical Committee of the CIS http://www.cisstat.com/
Macroeconomic indicators of the CIS in the last quarter of 2012/Main Macroeconomic Indicators
In the first half of 2012 industrial output in the CIS grew by 2.6% (by 3.1% in Russia, by 8.5% in Belarus, and by 1.6% in Kazakhstan), freight by transport companies, excluding pipelines, rose by 8.5% (a 3.2% increase in Russia, a 2% decline in Belarus, and a 20.4% increase in Kazakhstan), and retail trade rose by 8.3% (by 7.1% in Russia, by 9.5% in Belarus, and by 12.6% in Kazakhstan. Investment in fixed assets in the CIS countries increased by 10% (a 10.2% increase in Russia, a 19.2% decline in Belarus, and a 3.1% increase in Kazakhstan).
Exports of goods within the CIS in the first five months of 2012, compared to the same period of 2011, grew by 11.9% (by 10.3% in Russia, by 36.5% in Belarus, and by 19.5% in Kazakhstan), and imports by 7.1% (by 5.2% in Russia, by 4.4% in Belarus, and by 22.8% in Kazakhstan).
Price indices for the products of industrial producers in the first half of 2012 were 1.1% more, in average, than in December last year. However, the figures of individual countries of the CIS vary greatly; particularly in Russia there was just a 0.3% rise, a 12% rise was marked in Belarus, while in Kazakhstan the figures did not change. At the same time, there is a 10.3% decline in Azerbaijan, and a 3.5% decline in Kyrgyzstan.
Consumer prices in June 2012 in the CIS rose by 2.5%, compared to December 2011 (by 3.2% in Russia, by 10.5% in Belarus, and by 2.7% in Kazakhstan. Thus, in Azerbaijan and Armenia there was marked a reduction of 2.1% and 0.4%, respectively.
In the first quarter of 2012, compared to the same period of the previous year, Kazakhstan's GDP increased by 5.6% (Table 2). The short-term economic indicator, calculated on the six main sectors of the economy (agriculture, industry, construction, trade, transport, and communications), which account for two-thirds of the country’s GDP, showed a 4.6% rise in real terms in the output of products in January–March. Given the fact that following the end of the first half of the year, the short-term economic indicator fell by 0.8 percentage points, one can expect an increase in real GDP of less than 5% in the first half of the year. However, with the overall increase in the sector of services, according to latest data, it is very likely that the GDP growth will remain at the same level as in the first quarter.
In the industrial sector, which constitutes one-third of the GDP, production grew by 1.6%, mainly due to the increased output in the processing industries by 4.4%, while in the mining and quarrying industries there was a decline of 0.2%.
In the agricultural sector, produce decreased by 6.3%, due to a 6.4% decline in the production of livestock.
Construction in the first half increased by just 0.5% compared to the same period last year. The volume of construction and assembling operations, representing almost 87% of all construction work, fell by 1.5%.
Cargo turnover rose considerably (+14.4%), as well as revenues from telecommunication services (+12.8%) and retail trade (12.6%).
As mentioned above, the industrial output in the first half 2012 grew by only 1.6%, compared to the same period last year, due to the decline in the mining and quarrying industries, which accounted for 63.3% of total industrial production.
The mining and quarrying sectors showed a 0.2% decline. Also, the production of crude oil and iron ore fell by 1.4% and 4.1%, respectively. At the same time natural gas production increased by 2.7%, non-ferrous metals by 4.5%, and coal and lignite by 0.4%.
The processing industry marked a 4.4% growth. With this, the production of food rose by 5.9%, of beverages by 15%, of tobacco products by 10.9%, and of products of light industry by 11.8%. The output in the machine building sector grew by 18.4%. However, ferrous metallurgy decreased by 10.1%.
Distribution of electric power, gas, steam and air conditioning increased by 6.4%. This was owing to the increased production and distribution of gaseous fuels (+12.7%), generation, transmission and distribution of electric power (+6.7%), as well as distribution of steam and air conditioning (+4.5%).
In the water supply system and sewage system and in waste management and waste disposal in January–June 2012 the physical volume index was 98.3%.
Agricultural output in the first half of 2012 decreased by 6.3%, while crop production remained at last year’s level, and livestock production decreased by 6.4%. In particular, the number of cattle reduced by 3.3%, goats by 2.7%, and pigs by 12.9%. At the same time, the number of sheep increased by 1.3%, horses by 5%, and poultry by 2.5%.
The volume of construction in the first half of 2012 was by 0.5% more, than in the same period of the previous year. The highest growth rates in the construction industry, compared to the corresponding months of the previous year, were recorded in February and January – 105% and 104.3%, respectively. In the rest of the months they were at a lower level, but not below 100%, except for January, when the volume of construction was 8.1% less than in January 2011.
Commissioning of residential buildings in January–June 2012 amounted to 3,037.1 thousand m2, which is 14.3% less than in the first half of last year. However, it should be noted a decrease of investment in housing by 6.7% that in the future will negatively affect the figures on putting new housing in operation.
In the first half of 2012 retail sales increased by 12.6%. With this, retail sales rose by 10.6% for the trading companies, which account for 52.4% of total retail sales, and by 14.9% for markets and individual entrepreneurs. The stock of goods, as of July 1, 2012, was enough to sell within 47 days.
In January–May 2012 foreign trade turnover reached $54.5 billion, a 20.5% increase, compared to the first five months of last year. The exports totaled $38.3 billion (+19.5%), while imports $16.2 billion (+22.8%).
Exports to the Customs Union countries amounted to $2,666.6 million that is 12.4% less than in January–June 2011. At the same time, imports CU countries rose 4.2% to $6,540.6 million.
The main partner countries of Kazakhstan for export of goods are Italy (17.1% of total exports), China (16%), Netherlands (9.4%), France (7.3%), and Russia (7%). In imports, the leaders are the Russian Federation (38.8%), China (15.9%), Ukraine (8.4%), Germany (4.8%), and the USA (4.6%).
The current account surplus in balance of payments for the first quarter of 2012 was $3,546.33 million. For comparison, in the first quarter of 2011 it was $2,293.8 million.
The balance on direct investment transactions reached $4,165.5 million (in January–March 2011 it was $2,251.1 million). Of them, the balance on overseas transactions was negative -$615.5 million, while on the transactions in Kazakhstan was a surplus +$4,780.9 million.
The balance on portfolio investment transactions was negative -$3,859.8 million (in the first quarter 2011 it was +$106.2 million).
In the first half of 2012 investment in fixed capital increased by 3.1% to $2,030.4 trillion tenge in comparison with the same period of the previous year. Structure of investment by source of funding has also undergone significant changes. So, at its own expense had 56.6% (was 46.4%), foreign investment – 16.6% (26.2%), the state budget – 17.7% (17.6%), and borrowed funds – 9.1% (9.8%).
The structure of investment by the sources of funding underwent considerable changes as well. So, own funds account for 56.6% (46.4% in relevant period of 2011), foreign investment 16.6% (26.2%), state budget funds 17.7% (17.6%), and borrowed funds 9.1% (9.8%).
The key areas for investment did not change greatly. As before, the mining and quarrying industries remain the most attractive sectors for investment, whose percentage in total industrial output was 33.4% (38.5% in 2011). Then follows transportation and warehousing – 18.0% (14.2%) and transactions on real estate – 9.2% (11.3%).
The consumer price index, compared to the first half of 2011, was 5%. However, real incomes and wages in January–May 2012 were down by 9.6% and 11.7%, respectively, against the first five months of last year.
The average size of pensions in the second quarter increased by 8.1% to 29,106 tenge, against the same period of 2011.
Average per capita income of the population in May 2012 reached 48,859 tenge, which is 12% more than in May last year in nominal terms, and 6.7% more in real terms.
The average monthly wage per employee in May 2012 reached 98,942 tenge (+17.6% in nominal terms and +12% in real terms).
The economically active population in the second quarter of 2012, according to preliminary data, was 8,999.8 thousand people, an increase of 3.8% against the same period in 2011.
The number of employed reached 8,526,700 people (+3.9%). With this, employees increased by 5.7% to 5,809,300 people, and self-employed by 0.4% to 2,717,400 people.
The number of unemployed also rose slightly by 1.3% to 473,100 people. The unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 5.2%, against the relevant month last year. The level of hidden unemployment, by estimate of the Agency for Statistics, made 0.3% (30,100 people) of the economically active population.
According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the number of people registered as unemployed in June 2011 was 57,400 persons, or 0.7% of the economically active population.
State budget revenues in the first five months of 2012 amounted to 2,284.1 billion tenge, or a 10.5% increase against the same period last year. Tax revenues, which share in total revenues of the state budget, amounted to 73.6%, increased by only 2.9%. At the same time, transfers rose by 1.5 times (by 152.8%), and their specific weight in state budget revenues made 24.1%.
Revenues on some individual taxes showed various dynamics. Revenues on the value added tax increased by 17.5%, amounting to nearly a quarter of all the tax revenues (24.5%), on individual income tax by 19.6% (10.4%), on social tax by 17.3% (7.7%), on property taxes by 4.1% (4.6%), and on excise taxes by 28.7% (2.1%). Revenues on corporate income tax declined by 7.9% (23.3% of the total tax revenues), on taxes on international trade and external operations by 8.5% (18.7%, respectively),on taxes on the use of natural and other resources by 6.3% (7.7%), and on other taxes by 5.7% (1.0%).
As for the state budget expenditure in January–May 2012, that increased by 22%, reaching 2,287.2 billion tenge. The budget deficit made 149.7 billion tenge.