(bne) – With Kazakhstan’s presidential election on April 3 sure to result in victory for President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has ruled for two decades, the only real question is how low the turnout will be.
(bne) – While the bulk of national rail operator Kazakhstan Temir Zholy’s (KTZ) profits are from its freight services, the company’s multi-billion-dollar investment programme, to be partly funded by borrowing and asset sales, is concentrating on improving passenger services.
(bne) – China’s decision to drastically cut exports of rare earth metals in 2010 has forced manufacturers of products from iPhones to satellite systems to look for new sources in Central Asia.
(bne) – Private equity in Kazakhstan has so far been small scale and sporadic, despite growing interest from global firms. But the creation of nine funds with government backing has suddenly made over $1 billion available for private equity investment and the task in 2011 will be to put this money to work.
(bne) – The strong rise in commodity prices in 2010 allowed the Eurasia region’s hydrocarbon-rich states to emerge from the global economic slowdown. A slight slowdown in growth is forecast for 2011.
(bne) – With competition from international stock exchanges still strong, the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange looks for a strategic partner and plans to lobby the government to put pressure on domestic companies to issue on the local exchange.
(bne) – The Eurasian Development Bank was quick to raise money on international financial markets in its first few months of operation. Four years on, it has no urgent need for funds, but all the tools are in place, allowing it to spring into action when required.
(bne) – Relations between Russia and Kazakhstan are tight as the two counties have become strategic partners – and the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) is the face of that.
(bne) – Border closures after the Kyrgyz revolution and Kazakhstan’s entry into the Customs Union with Russia have presented challenges for Central Asia’s hundreds of thousands of bazaar vendors and shuttle traders this year. But the region’s multi-billion-dollar bazaar trade has always proved to be enormously flexible.
(bne) – Predictions that Kazakhstan would be first in, first out of the crisis have proved to be not far from the truth. The rise in commodity prices over the last year has boosted the natural resources sector, which has in turn dragged the rest of the economy, including the banking sector, along with it.