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GDP (2001): $22.2 billion.
GDP growth rate: 13.2% (2001); 9.5% (2002).
GDP per capita (2001): Purchasing power parity--$6,855.
Inflation rate: 6.4% (2001); 6.6% (2002).
Trade: Exports (2001)--$8.6 billion: oil and oil products 55%, ferrous metals 11.7%, copper (8.3%), inorganic chemicals 4.5%, grain 4.0%, precious and semiprecious stones 3.1%, zinc (1.8%). Imports (2001)--$6.4 billion: equipment and machinery 28.5%, fuel and oil products (12.6%), ferrous metals and ferrous metals products 11.4%, vehicles 8.1%, inorganic chemicals 3.2%.
Gross external debt 2002: $16.7 billion.
Central Bank's foreign exchange reserves: $3.0 billion.
National [oil] fund reserves: $2 billion.
Officially recognized unemployment rate (2002): 8.3%.
Exchange rate (April 2003): 152 tenges/$1.
Economy of Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan's economy grew by 9.5% in 2002, buoyed by high world oil prices. GDP grew 13.2% in 2001, up from 9.6% in 2000.
Kazakhstan's monetary policy has been well managed. Its principal challenges in 2002 are to manage strong foreign currency inflows without sparking inflation. Inflation has, in fact, remained under control, registering 6.4% in 2001 and 6.6% in 2002.
Because of its strong macroeconomic performance and financial health, Kazakhstan became the first former Soviet Republic to repay all of its debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2000, 7 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 former Soviet Union to receive an investment-grade credit rating from a major international credit rating agency. As of June 2002, Kazakhstan's gross foreign debt was about $16.7 billion, $3.8 billion of which was owed by the government. This amounts to 71% of GDP, a percentage economists consider to be well within manageable levels.
The upturn in economic growth, combined with the results of earlier tax and financial sector reforms, dramatically improved government finances from the 1999 budget deficit level of 3.5% of GDP to a surplus of 1.9% of GDP in 2001. Government revenues grew from 19.8% of GDP in 1999 to 22.6% of GDP in 2001. In 2000, Kazakhstan adopted a new tax code in an effort to consolidate these gains. In 2003, Kazakhstan plans to further its reforms by adopting new land, customs, and budget codes.
Oil and gas is the leading economic sector. In 2002, Kazakhstan produced 47.232 million metric tons of oil and gas condensate (945,000 barrels/day), an 18% increase over 2001's 39.97 million tons. It exported 39.4 million tons of oil in 2002, up 32.4% from 29.766 million tons in 2001. Natural gas output rose 13.2% on the year in 2002 to 13.137 billion cubic meters.
Kazakhstan holds about 2.5% of proven recoverable world oil reserves. Industry analysts believe that planned expansion of oil production, coupled with the development of new fields, will enable the country to produce as much as 3 million barrels per day by 2015, lifting Kazakhstan into the ranks of the world's top 10 oil-producing nations. Kazakhstan's 2002 oil exports valued more than $5 billion, representing 43% of overall exports and 21% of GDP. Major oil and gas fields and their recoverable oil reserves are Tengiz (7 billion barrels); Karachaganak (8 billion barrels and 1,350 billion cubic meters of natural gas); and Kashagan (7-9 billion barrels).
Kazakhstan instituted an ambitious pension reform program in 1998. By December 2002, Kazakhstanis had contributed more than $1.6 billion to their own personal pension accounts, 71% of which is managed by the private sector. The National Bank oversees and regulates the pension funds. The pension funds' growing demand for quality investment outlets triggered rapid development of the debt securities market. Pension fund capital is being invested almost exclusively in corporate and government bonds, including Government of Kazakhstan Eurobonds. The Kazakhstani banking system is developing rapidly. The banking system's capitalization now exceeds $1 billion. The National Bank has introduced deposit insurance in its campaign to strengthen the banking sector. Several major foreign banks have branches in Kazakhstan, including ABN-AMRO, Citibank, and HSBC.
Agriculture accounted for 10.1% of Kazakhstan's GDP in 2001. Grain (Kazakhstan is the sixth- largest producer in the world) and livestock are the most important agricultural commodities. Agricultural land occupies more than 84.6 million hectares. The available agricultural land consists of 20.5 million hectares of arable land and 61.1 million hectares of pasture and hay land. Chief livestock products are dairy goods, 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 and total $400-$500 million per year.
Oil, gas, and mineral exports are key to Kazakhstan's economic success and have attracted most of over $18.4 billion in foreign investment in Kazakhstan since 1993. Kazakhstan has significant deposits coal, iron, copper, zinc, uranium, and gold.