Economic and Political Overview

flag Kazakhstan Kazakhstan: Economic and Political Overview

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline | COVID-19 Country Response

 

Economic Indicators

Kazakhstan's economic growth is largely based on gas and oil revenues, accounting for around 35% of GDP and 75% of exports. The estimated GDP growth for 2023 stood at 4.6%, fueled by growth in both the oil and non-oil sectors, with the impact of the conflict in Ukraine remaining contained. Strong credit growth has also supported activity. According to the IMF, anticipated growth in 2024 is projected to moderate within an uncertain economic climate, expected to slow to 3.1% primarily due to delays in the Tengiz oil field expansion. Over the medium term, non-oil GDP growth is set to stabilize at around 3.5%. Downside risks encompass potential oil price declines, disruptions in oil exports, and sluggish growth among trading partners. Additionally, spillovers from the conflict in Ukraine and geopolitical fragmentation, including secondary sanctions, pose threats to activity and investor confidence.

In 2023, the fiscal stance has loosened, witnessing notable rises in investment spending, particularly directed towards transport and energy infrastructure, alongside increased social spending. The consolidated budget deficit was estimated at 1% of GDP, with expected deficits of 1.3% this year and 1.1% in 2025 (IMF). As of 2023, the general government debt accounted for 23.4% of GDP, representing a credit strength. The IMF foresees the ratio to remain stable over the forecast horizon. The government's dedication to fiscal consolidation is encouraging and should be reinforced by adopting more conservative economic forecasts and implementing precise reform strategies. Achieving a reduction in the non-oil deficit to 5% of GDP by 2030 would bolster disinflation efforts and safeguard substantial fiscal reserves (IMF). Inflation, which reached its peak at 21% in February, decreased over the course of the year, averaging 15% by the conclusion of 2023. It is forecasted to gradually ease, reaching 6.7% by 2025.

Unemployment rate remained stable at 4.8% in 2023. The growth of real wages has stabilized after experiencing sharp increases over the past two years. According to IMF estimates, unemployment should remain stable over the projected period. The World Bank's Kazakhstan Economic Update estimates that the country's poverty rate has increased to 12-14% in 2022 from a baseline of 6% in 2016. The government has implemented a substantial amount of direct support to businesses through tax deferrals and subsidized loans, and financial support to poor households and affected individuals.

 
Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 225.53259.29290.99309.38322.28
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 3.34.64.24.61.8
GDP per Capita (USD) 11,40912,96814,39615,14615,614
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) 0.1-1.0-1.3-1.1-1.3
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 23.523.423.625.728.1
Inflation Rate (%) n/a15.09.06.75.8
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force) 4.94.84.84.84.8
Current Account (billions USD) 7.82-3.93-1.99-1.79-7.50
Current Account (in % of GDP) 3.5-1.5-0.7-0.6-2.3

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

Kazakhstan benefits from multiple natural resources, including major deposits of oil, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chromium ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, lead, zinc, bauxite or uranium. The country also has a large agricultural area (ranked 14th world), composed of arable land and pastures. Agriculture suffered from a strong decline in the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union, but has recovered in the last 20 years. The sector accounts for 5.2% of GDP and employs 13% of the working population (World Bank latest data available). Agriculture in the country is extensive, but ageing infrastructure limits its development. More than half of the products are vegetable crops (cereals, including wheat, oilseeds, cucurbits). Kazakhstan is one of the world's leading wheat producers. Livestock and dairy industries account for a significant share of the agricultural sector. The country is almost self-sufficient in agri-food. According to governamental figures, in the first eleven months of 2023, the gross agricultural output totaled USD 17.8 billion. Significant yields comprised 16.6 million tons of grains, 2.1 million tons of oilseeds, and 5 million tons of forage crops, guaranteeing abundant provisions for the local market.

The Kazakh industry sector - accounting for 35% of GDP and employing 22% of the working population - comprises diverse subsectors, including oil and gas extraction, mining, metallurgy, chemicals, machinery manufacturing, and agriculture. Kazakhstan is renowned for its significant reserves of oil, natural gas, and minerals, making extraction and processing key industries. The country's metallurgical sector specializes in the production of steel, while chemical industries focus on petrochemicals and fertilizers. Machinery manufacturing encompasses a range of products, from agricultural machinery to industrial equipment. From January to September 2023, industrial production amounted to KZT 33,972.8 billion, with 15,925.1 billion (46.9% of the total volume) generated in the mining industry and 15,890.1 billion (46.8%) in the manufacturing industry (data Kazakh Bureau of National Statistics).

The tertiary sector is the main sector in Kazakhstan and growing steadily. It accounts for 52.6% of GDP and employs 66% of the working population. The financial sector, transport and technology are the main services produced in the country. The tourism sector, although not yet very developed, was experiencing strong growth before the outbreak of the pandemic. Nevertheless, it showed signs of recovery in 2023, when Kazakhstan welcomed 834,900 foreign tourists from January to September, a 37% increase compared to the same period one year earlier (data Kazakh Bureau of National Statistics). In 2023, banks reported strong average capitalization, profitability, and liquidity positions (IMF).

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 15.0 21.2 63.8
Value Added (in % of GDP) 5.2 34.5 52.6
Value Added (Annual % Change) 9.1 3.8 2.6

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

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Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Kazakhstan Tenge (KZT) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 MUR 9.639.4510.1610.7810.50

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 
 

Find out all the exchange rates daily on our service Currency Converter.

Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
71,1/100
World Rank:
34
Regional Rank:
8

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

 

Business environment ranking

Definition:

The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

Score:
5.53/10
World Rank:
63/82

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit - Business Environment Rankings 2021-2025

 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

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Foreign Trade in Figures

Kazakhstan is open to international trade, which represents 68% of its GDP (World Bank, latest data available). The country has an export-oriented economy that is highly dependent on shipments of oil and related products. In January-September 2023, the Republic of Kazakhstan primarily exported goods such as crude oil and crude oil products derived from bituminous minerals (54.2%), refined copper and raw copper alloys (4.3%), copper ores and concentrates (3.9%), radioactive chemical elements, and radioactive isotopes (3.3%), as well as ferroalloys (3%) and wheat and meslin (2.6%). Regarding imports, Kazakhstan's major imports comprised cars (5.2%), telephone sets (3.1%), bodies and cabins (2.7%), medicinal products (2.2%), parts and accessories of motor vehicles (2%), and oil and petroleum products (1.7% - data Kazakh Bureau of National Statistics).

In the same period, Kazakhstan's primary export partner countries included Italy (18.8%), China (18%), Russia (12.3%), Netherlands (5.8%), the Republic of Korea (5.6%), and Turkey (5.1%). In terms of imports, the main partner countries were Russia (26.7%), China (25.5%), Germany (5.1%), USA (4.5%), the Republic of Korea (3.8%), and Turkey (3.4%). Russia and Kazakhstan have undertaken joint projects in many areas, including energy. The government aims to improve the country's integration abroad to increase investment in the country. The country has been a WTO member since 2015 and has trade agreements with many countries in its region. It is also a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan), and the Common Economic Zone (Belarus and Russia). The Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) was signed in 2015 between the country and the European Union, and a revised version entered into force in March 2020.

The country has been recording trade surpluses since 1998 mainly due to the rise in shipments of oil and other commodities. As oil and gas are among Kazakhstan's main exports, the country's trade balance is affected by global commodity prices. In January-September 2023, Kazakhstan's foreign trade turnover amounted to USD 101,973.2 million and increased by 2.4% in nominal terms compared to January-September 2022. This included exports of USD 57,498.3 million (-10.2% less due to lower hydrocarbon prices) and imports of USD 44,475 million (+25% - data Kazakh Bureau of National Statistics). According to the latest figures available from the World Bank, the country’s trade balance in goods and services was positive by 15.4% of its GDP in 2022, compared to 8.6% one year earlier.

 
Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 32,53437,75737,22241,17149,586
Exports of Goods (million USD) 60,95657,30946,44760,62584,663
Imports of Services (million USD) 12,08211,5418,4467,9079,416
Exports of Services (million USD) 7,3207,7545,2085,8877,923
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 6.614.9-9.0-2.7n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 9.62.0-11.32.0n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 25.928.426.524.0n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 37.636.430.533.5n/a
Trade Balance (million USD) 24,03818,4216,00924,22935,660
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 19,27714,6342,77222,20934,167
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 63.564.957.057.5n/a

Source: WTO – World Trade Organisation ; World Bank , Latest Available Data

 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2022
Italy 16.4%
China 15.6%
Russia 10.4%
Netherlands 6.5%
Türkiye 5.6%
See More Countries 45.5%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
Russia 34.7%
China 21.9%
Germany 4.5%
United States 3.8%
Türkiye 3.2%
See More Countries 31.9%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 
 

Main Products

84.4 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 55.6%
Copper, refined, and copper alloys, unwrought ...Copper, refined, and copper alloys, unwrought (excl. copper alloys of heading 7405) 4.4%
Ferro-alloysFerro-alloys 3.8%
Copper ores and concentratesCopper ores and concentrates 2.8%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 2.6%
See More Products 30.7%
50.0 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 3.6%
Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528) 3.0%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 2.7%
Automatic data-processing machines and units...Automatic data-processing machines and units thereof; magnetic or optical readers, machines for transcribing data onto data media in coded form and machines for processing such data, n.e.s. 2.4%
Bodies, incl. cabs, for tractors, motor vehicles...Bodies, incl. cabs, for tractors, motor vehicles for the transport of ten or more persons, motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, motor vehicles for the transport of goods and special purpose motor vehicles of heading 8701 to 8705 2.1%
See More Products 86.1%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 
 

Main Services

7.8 bn USD of services exported in 2022
59.39%
19.01%
7.27%
4.36%
2.92%
2.50%
2.05%
1.87%
0.53%
0.08%
0.01%
8.9 bn USD of services imported in 2022
30.29%
27.28%
24.68%
5.30%
3.37%
2.16%
2.09%
1.70%
1.37%
1.16%
0.61%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, Latest Available Data

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministries
Ministry of Finance
Ministry of Economy
Ministry for Industry and Infrastructure
Ministry of Agriculture
Ministry of Justice
Statistical Office
Agency of Statistics of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Central Bank
National Bank of Kazakhstan
Stock Exchange
Kazakhstan Stock Exchange(Kaze)
Search Engines
Site.kz
Economic Portals
The Astana Times
Portal on Mining Sector

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Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President:  Kassym-Jomart Tokaïev (since 20 March 2019)
Prime Minister: Olzhas Bektenov (since 6 February 2024)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: 2029
Senate (Upper House): 2026
Mazhilis (Lower House): 2026
Main Political Parties
The main political parties of the country are:

- Amanat: previously known as "Nur Otan", centre, largest political party
- Auyl People's Democratic Patriotic Party (HDDP): social democracy, agrarianism
- Respublica Party: centre to centre-right
- Democratic Party of Kazakhstan (Aq Jol/Bright Path): centre, pro-reform, pro-business
- People's Party of Kazakhstan (QHP): left-wing, social democratic, originally funded as the Communist People's Party of Kazakhstan (QKHP)
- Nationwide Social Democratic Party (JSDP): social democracy.
Type of State
Kazakhstan is a presidential republic.
Executive Power
The President is the head of the State and also the Commander-in-chief of the army. He can propose constitutional amendments, appoint and revoke the government, dissolve the parliament and call for a referendum when he wants. The Prime Minister is the head of the government. He and the Council of Ministers are appointed by the President.
Legislative Power
The Parliament consists of two houses. The Mazhilis, the lower house, consists 98 members of which 69 are directly elected in a single national constituency by party list proportional representation, and 29 are directly elected in single-seat constituencies to serve 5-year terms. The Senate, the upper house, is formed of 50 members, 40 of which are elected. The remaining 10 members are appointed by the President.
 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
155/180
Evolution:
157/180
 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Not Free
Political Freedom:
7/7
Civil Liberties:
18/60

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

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COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
ry and macroeconomic) undertaken by the government of Kazakhstan, please consult the country's dedicated section in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.

 

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Latest Update: March 2024