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Analysis of the current antiinflation policy in the Republic of Kazakhstan

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Since 2010 the Kazakh economy has been demonstrating fairly high growth rates. According to the operative data, real growth of GDP during 2011 accounted for 7.5%. In 2011 such sectors as agriculture, trade, and communication became the leaders in terms of growth rates of the physical volume.

A favorable pricing environment for major items of the Kazakhstan’s export promoted the increase in the foreign trade volumes. According to preliminary data, in 2011 the current account balance ended with a proficit of US$ 13.6 bln. (or 7.3% of GDP). Foreign direct investments continue to inflow into Kazakhstan, with their volume amounting to US$ 13.1 bln. by the end of 2011.

In 2011 the development of inflationary processes was characterized by some acceleration of inflation in the first half of 2011. Nonetheless, coordinated and efficient measures of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan allowed bringing back the annual inflation rate to its target band of 6-8% established for 2011. By the end of 2011the annual inflation was at 7.4% (in December 2010 – 7.8%).

The major reasons for acceleration of inflation in 2011 were caused by a number of problems and factors among which the unstable situation in the global commodity markets, growth of world prices for raw materials and food, inefficient pricing mechanism, and low competition in certain markets of goods and services appeared to be the most significant ones.

Moreover, the functioning of the Customs Union at this stage puts pressure on the pricing within Kazakhstan. In this respect, if the situation in the consumer market in Belarus doesn’t have a significant impact on Kazakhstan due to small volumes of mutual trade, the Russian consumer market has certain impact on the inflation in Kazakhstan.

The monetary policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan was balanced in attaining the established targets. This was accompanied by maintaining money supply at a low level. By the end of 2011 the reserve money expanded by 10.3%, and growth rates of the money supply accounted for 15.0%, which is lower than nominal growth rates of the economy.

Positive dynamics in the development of the banking sector is observed that is accompanied by a gradual recovery of lending activity of banks. Banks repaid a major portion of their foreign debt. In this connection the domestic banks have low reliance on the external sources of credit resources.



After almost a three-year stagnation in the lending activity of banks, some credit growth was observed in 2011. So by the end of 2011the volume of credits amounted to KZT 8.8 trln., having increased by 15.7% over the year. Credits in the domestic currency increased by 29.6% to KZT 5681.6 bln., and in foreign currency – decreased by 3.4% to KZT 3099.7 bln.

In 2011 deposits of residents which demonstrated positive dynamics were virtually the only source of funding for banks. So, during 2011 the volume of deposits of residents increased by 14.3% to KZT 8385.4 bln., where deposits of legal entities increased by 10.2%, and deposits of individuals – by 24.1%. During 2011 foreign currency deposits increased by 2.8% to KZT 2629.7 bln., and deposits in the national currency – by 20.5% to KZT 5755.7 bln.

With a view to improve sustainability of the domestic sources when building up the funding base of banks, ensuring stability of the financial system and protecting interests of depositors, in 2011 the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan increased the capital of the Kazakhstan Deposit Insurance Fund by 10% to KZT 133.1 bln.

The enactment of the law on risk minimization in financial organizations will further strengthen confidence of the public in the financial sector. The law provides for retaining as permanent the guaranteed payout on deposits of individuals in the amount of KZT 5 mln. that was in effect until January 2012. [12]

In 2011, the main objective of the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan was to ensure the price stability in the country and to keep the annual inflation within 6-8%.

Monetary policy measures of the Republic of Kazakhstan allowed preserving the stability in the country’s consumer market. By the end of 2011 the annual inflation was within the target range of 7.4%.

The trend of the national currency appreciation which started at the end of 2009 also continued at the beginning of 2011. The fluctuation range of the Tenge exchange rate was much narrower and its values were not approaching the thresholds of the currency band which was expanded in February 2010. Thus, the existence of the currency band in 2010 didn’t play a significant role. In this connection, at end-February 2011 the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan switched to the managed floating exchange rate regime of the Tenge with the cancellation of the currency band.

In mid-2011 the volatility of the exchange rate increased caused by certain destabilization of the situation in the global markets and the decreased oil prices. Since May 2011, the trend of the Tenge depreciation has outlined which increased in August and September 2011.

In order to prevent significant jumps in the exchange rate and to maintain stability in the foreign exchange market, the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan played in the market both as a buyer and a seller of foreign currency, depending on the situation.

In 2011 the interest rate band of the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan was changed. The changes affected the upper boundary of the band – the official refinancing rate. Given the increased inflationary pressure at the beginning of the year, the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan made the decision to increase the official refinancing rate from 7.0% to 7.5% from March 9, 2011.

The rate on deposits attracted from banks which serves as a lower boundary of the band of short-term money market rates remained unchanged throughout 2011 and was 0.5% on 7-day deposits and 1.0% – on one month deposits.

Interbank market rates remained within the interest rate band of the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan closer to its lower boundary, which was to a larger extent related to low activity and excessive liquidity of the market players.[13]

The National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan regulated short-term liquidity in the money market through the issue of short-term notes and attraction of deposits from banks. Despite the decrease in interest rates to the minimal level, the demand for such instruments on the part of banks remained high throughout the year.

Upon requests of individual banks, the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan provided refinancing loans to support their current liquidity. The term of such operations didn’t exceed 1 month.

The mechanism of minimum reserve requirements hasn’t changed in 2011. Since May 31, 2011 the ratios of minimum reserve requirements for banks have been raised from 1.5% to 2.5% on domestic liabilities and from 2.5% to 4.5% on other liabilities.

Owing to the anti-crisis measures taken by the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the National Bank of the Republic of Kazakhstan as well as due to a favorable environment in the global commodity markets, the recovery of economic growth in the country continued in 2011. At the same time, the GDP growth rates will be moderate in the mid-term. Alongside with that, in the mid-term the government’s economic policy will be aimed at diversifying the economy and ensuring its growth of about 7%.

 


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