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Country Forecast Kazakhstan August 2017 Updater

Country Forecast Kazakhstan August 2017 Updater

  • August 2017
  • ID: 4980183
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit

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  • There are indications that planning for an eventual transition of power from Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president, is under way. How and when a transition of power will be enacted remains uncertain, and there is no clear successor.
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit's baseline forecast is that Mr Nazarbayev will remain in power until at least 2020, when his current term ends. However, the risks to this forecast have risen. We assume that the elite will reach a broad consensus on a succession strategy, but increased and more public factional in-fighting remains a risk.
  • Organised opposition to the regime will remain relatively weak, and the potential for mass political unrest is low. However, subdued economic performance in the coming years will undermine support for the government.
  • Kazakhstan will continue to pursue a multi-vector foreign policy, balancing Russia, China and the West. Russia will remain the primary regional security actor, and China will have a growing role in the economy.
  • Tensions regarding the implementation of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) are likely to persist, particularly in view of Russia's trade restrictions on the EU, the US and Ukraine.
  • We expect the tenge to strengthen against the US dollar in 2017, in line with the recovery in the oil price, before weakening slightly in 2018.
  • The economy grew by 0.9% in 2016. In 2017-18 growth will be constrained, compared with pre-2014 growth rates, by subdued credit creation and household deleveraging, but oil output and total exports will rise.
  • After protests in some cities against amendments to the land code, the government is likely to proceed cautiously with further economic reforms. We believe that the government's privatisation programme will probably not have a significant impact on productivity or competitiveness. Concerns about corporate governance are likely to depress valuations.
  • The government will continue to offset falling commercial lending with a targeted stimulus from the National Fund of the Republic of Kazakhstan (NFRK, the sovereign wealth fund). The Single Accumulative Pension Fund (SAPF) will be used to encourage bank lending for businesses and infrastructure.
  • Higher average commodity prices and higher oil exports will trim the current-account deficit in 2017. Although we expect the deficit to narrow further in 2018-21, the moderate oil price outlook means that a return to surplus is unlikely.






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