Business news from Ukraine

National Bank of Kazakhstan has raised its GDP growth forecast

The National Bank of Kazakhstan has raised its economic growth forecast for 2024-2025 to 4-5% per year from the previously expected 3.5-4.5%, the regulator said in a statement citing its updated macroeconomic forecasts.

This year, GDP growth is still expected to reach 4.2-5.2%.

“Forecasts for the growth of Kazakhstan’s economy in the medium term have been improved. The expansion of business activity will be driven by sustained domestic demand, increased budget expenditures and the recovery of the oil sector. (…) The risks to the GDP forecast are associated with possible problems of access to international markets for Kazakh exports, as well as the likelihood of not achieving the planned oil production,” the statement said.

In addition, the inflation forecast has been adjusted. In the short term, uncertainty about price growth has decreased. In the baseline scenario, inflation is projected to be in the range of 10-12% this year (previous forecast – 11-14%), 7.5-9.5% in 2024 (9-11%), and 5.5-7.5% in 2025 (corresponding to the previous forecast).

“At the same time, without taking into account the direct effect of the increase in utility tariffs, to which the NBU does not respond by changing the key policy rate, the medium-term inflation target of 5% is expected to be reached by the end of 2025. This will be facilitated by the further easing of pressure from the external environment and monetary conditions that are in the restraining zone,” the statement said.

The main risks to the inflation forecast, according to the National Bank, include increased fiscal stimulus, “unanchored inflation expectations,” accelerating inflation in Russia and a possible rise in world food prices due to the failure to renew the grain initiative. Another risk in the forecast is the continuation of pricing reforms in the Kazakh fuel and lubricants market.

Kazakhstan’s economy grew by 3.1% in 2022, with inflation at 20.3%.

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EU may impose sanctions on dozens of companies from China, Iran, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

The EU is considering imposing sanctions against dozens of companies from China, Iran, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan that cooperate with Russia, Reuters reports.
The agency cites diplomatic sources familiar with the European Commission’s draft proposals. Inclusion of these companies in the “black list” is possible within the framework of the prepared 11 package of anti-Russian sanctions.
In late April, Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Elizabeth Rosenberg during a visit to Kazakhstan warned of the growing risks of secondary sanctions against Kazakh companies and banks that help Russia evade Western sanctions imposed in response to the full-scale war against Ukraine unleashed by Russia.

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Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan set up joint foreign trade company

Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have set up a joint foreign trade company to increase bilateral trade and enter the markets of third countries.
The founders of the export-import enterprise were the QazTrade Trade Policy Development Center and the UzTrade company.
The foreign trade company will focus on conducting market research and competitive analysis of products of large enterprises of the two countries, developing proposals for placing orders for the production of finished goods, optimizing and coordinating mutual trade processes, assisting businesses in certification and promotion of goods for export.
“At the initial stage, we plan to purchase fruit and vegetable products from Uzbekistan to meet the needs of our domestic market. In addition, we will help sell Kazakh flour products in Uzbekistan with the possibility of further export to Afghanistan. We have agreed with the Uzbek side to provide preferences for logistics costs,” said Nuraly Bukeykhanov, Head of the Trade Policy Development Center.
In 2022, trade between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan reached $5 billion, up 29.8% year-on-year ($3.8 billion).
The volume of exports of Kazakhstani goods increased by 33% to $3.7 billion. The growth in exports was mainly due to an increase in supplies of ore and copper concentrate (up 4.8 times), wheat (up 32.3%), cars (up 83.7%), sunflower oil (up 97.2 times), fresh and chilled beef (up 4.1 times), and raw aluminum (up 70.4%).
In 2022, imports to Kazakhstan from Uzbekistan increased by 21.4% to $ 1.3 billion. Kazakhstan mainly buys car bodies, spark-ignition internal combustion engines, grapes, flat-rolled unalloyed steel, lead ores and concentrates, building bricks, floor blocks and similar ceramic products, parts and accessories for cars and tractors, and ethylene polymers.


Chinese President Xi will visit Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan this week, Chinese media reported on Monday, citing the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Xi will attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand and will visit Kazakhstan from September 14 to September 16, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.
As previously reported, Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to hold a meeting with Chinese President Xi on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Samarkand.
The SCO summit will be held in Samarkand on September 15-16.

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Kazakhstan would like to become supplier of wheat and oilseeds to Saudi Arabia – Tokayev

The agricultural sector of Kazakhstan has great potential and can become one of the long-term suppliers of high-quality wheat and oilseeds to Saudi Arabia, President of the Republic Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said.
“Kazakhstan ranks second in the world in terms of arable land per capita and fifth in terms of pasture resources (180 million hectares). Our country is one of the 10 largest producers of wheat and flour. We are ready to become one of the stable, long-term suppliers of high-quality wheat, flour and oilseeds to the kingdom,” Tokayev said, speaking at an investment round table with representatives of the business community of Saudi Arabia on Sunday in Jeddah.

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The United States has included a number of Sberbank Group companies, including subsidiary banks in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, Cetelem Bank, bankrupt Sberbank Europe AG and payment service YooMoney, in its sanctions list, a statement from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) indicated.
Sberbank Insurance, Sberbank Life Insurance, Sberbank Insurance Broker, Sberbank Leasing, Sberbank Factoring, NPF Sberbank, Sberbank-AST, Sberbank Capital, Sberbank CIB and Strategy Partners have also been included in the OFAC Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN List), as has United Credit Bureau, in which Sberbank holds a 50% according to the latest disclosure.
The SDN List now also includes Digital Technologies, a company through which Russia’s top bank invested in a range of information technology companies.
The United States on Wednesday imposed blocking sanctions against Sberbank that call for freezing assets in the U.S. and bar U.S. citizens from doing any business with the bank. The UK imposed similar sanctions against Sberbank.
The United States imposed correspondent and payable-through account sanctions against Sberbank in February 2022.

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