Key economic indicators 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Real GDP growth (%) 9.3 9.6 9.7 10.7 8.9 3.1
Consumer price inflation (av. %) 6.8 6.7 7.5 8.4 10.8 9.5
Exchange rate Tenge:US$ (av) 149.58 136.00 132.88 126.09 122.60 122.55
Exchange rate Tenge:€(av) 168.79 169.04 165.42 158.27 167.8 167.75
Budget balance (% of GDP) - - - - -1.7 -1.9
SOURCES: Kazakh Statistical Agency, Investor's Guide, Nationalbank Kazakhstan
Main destinations of exports 2007 % of total Main origins of imports 2008 % of total
Russia 9.8 Russia 35.5
Italy 16.3 EU 24.5
France 8.3 China 10.7
Switzerland 15.7 US 5.1
China 11.8 Ukraine 4.7
Others 38.1
SOURCES: Kazakh Statistical Agency, Investor's Guide, Nationalbank Kazakhstan

Transition to market economy

Today’s economic situation is the result of a 17 year-long transition period from a former Soviet economy to a free market economy. Since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Kazakhstan has implemented a wide range of social, economic and political reforms. After a period of economic decline and high inflation in the 1990ies, the reforms now show their results. Priorities of current economic policy are the diversification of the economy, namely the strengthening of the non-oil industries to reduce the country's dependence on natural resources.

Because of its strong macroeconomic performance, Kazakhstan became the first former Soviet republic to repay all its debts to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2000, seven years ahead of schedule. In March 2002, the U.S. Department of Commerce graduated Kazakhstan to market economy status under U.S. trade law. The change in status recognized substantive market economy reforms in the areas of currency convertibility, wage rate determination, openness to foreign investment, and government control over the means of production and allocation of resources. In September 2002 Kazakhstan became the first country in the CIS to receive an investment-grade credit rating from the major international credit rating agency Moody's.

Between 2005 – 2007, 18 Kazakh companies (4 companies on main market + 10 AIM companies, operation not incorporation, + 2 companies Debt Securities) were listed on the London Stock Exchange. Kazakhstan was the first CIS country to be granted market economy status by the EU in 2001 and USA in 2002, and to be moved to investment grade status by Moody’s in 2002.

Ratings as of 5 August 2008: (LTFC/LTDC/Outlook): Moody’s Baa2Baa1/Stable; Standard & Poor’s BBB-/BBB/Negative; Fitch BBB/BBB+/Negative. In January 2005 the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) upgraded Kazakhstan’s country export risk rating, moving it from the 5th to the 4th group of risks.

National Production

Kazakhstan is rich in oil and minerals. Production of oil including gas condensate reached 70.6 million tons in 2008, net oil exports accounted for 62.8 million tons. Kazakh gas production in 2008 reached 33.5 billion cubic meters, net gas exports accounted 5.6 billion cubic meters. Kazakhstan holds about 32.5 billion barrels of proven recoverable oil reserves and 3 trillion cubic meters of gas.

Industry analysts believe that a planned increase in oil production and the development of new oil fields will enable Kazakhstan to produce as much as 3 million barrels (477,000 m³) per day by 2015, lifting the country into the ranks of the world's top 10 oil-producing nations. Major oil and gas fields and their recoverable oil reserves are Tengiz with 7 billion barrels (1.1 km³); Karachaganak with 8 billion barrels (1.3 km³) and 1,350 km³ of natural gas; and Kashagan with 7 to 9 billion barrels (1.1 to 1.4 km³).

Kazakhstan has an abundant supply of accessible mineral and fossil fuel resources. Development of petroleum, natural gas, and mineral extraction has attracted most of the $40 billion foreign investment in Kazakhstan since 1993 and accounts for some 57% of the nation's industrial output (approximately 13% of GDP). According to estimates, Kazakhstan has the second largest uranium, chromium, lead, and zinc reserves, the third largest manganese reserves, the fifth largest copper reserves, and ranks in the top ten for coal, iron, and gold. Kazakhstan also exports diamonds.

Agriculture accounted for 5.9 billion US$ of Kazakhstan's GDP in 2007. Grain (Kazakhstan is the sixth-largest producer in the world) and livestock are the most important agricultural commodities. Around 74% of the country's territory is suitable for agricultural production, 20% of the labour force works in the agricultural sector. Traditionnally, stockbreeding is the dominant agricultural activity. Chief livestock products are dairy products, leather, meat, and wool. The country's major crops include wheat, barley, cotton, and rice. Wheat exports, a major source of hard currency, rank among the leading commodities in Kazakhstan's export trade. By November 2008 Kazakhstan exported around 4.7 mln. tons of wheat. Other agricultural products include fruit and wine. Kazakh agriculture still has many environmental problems from mismanagement during its years in the Soviet Union.
Major exports 2007 % of total Major imports 2007 % of total
Mineral products 69.8 Mineral products 12.8
Chemicals, plastics, rubber 4.1 Chemicals, plastics, rubber 10.7
Non precious materials, its products 17.3 Non precious materials, its products 13.5
Machinery, equipment transport, instruments and apparatus 1.8 Machinery, equipment transport, instruments and apparatus 46.8
Foodstuff 3.9 Foodstuff 6.8
Others 3.1 Others 9.4
SOURCES: Ministry of Energetic and Mineral Resources, Investor's Guide, Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Other key facts

  • Industrial Production Growth: (2005) 4.6%; (2006) 7% (2007) 4.5%; (Jan-Sept 2008) 3%
  • GDP per capita: (2005) US$ 3771.3; (2006) US$ 5291.6; (2007) 6814 US$; (2008) 8132US$
  • Nominal GDP : (2005) US$ 57bn (2006) US$ 81bn
  • Inflation Rate: (2005) 7.5%; (2006) 8.4%
  • Unemployment Rate: (2005) 8.2%; (2006) 7.8% (2007) 7.3%
  • Capital Investment Growth: (2005) 22.1% (2006) 10.6% (2007) 13.5%; (2008) 4.6%
  • Foreign Direct Investments: (1993-2007) US$ 51.2bn, of which US$ 6.5bn in 2006 (1993-2008) US$ 72.3bn
  • Internal Investments: over US$ 80bn
  • Hard currency reserves: (2007) US$ 37.4bn, including National Oil Fund – US$ 15.9bn (17% of GDP)
  • Natural Resources: The world’s largest reserves of barite, lead, tungsten and uranium; second largest reserves of chromites, silver and zinc; third largest of managanese; significant deposits of copper, gold and iron ore; world class oil and gas reserves.

    SOURCES: Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nationalbank Kazakhstan, Zakon