Kazakhstan's economy surged 8% in first half

    By Kanat Kulshmanov
    The economy surged 8 percent in the first half of the year, a jubilant President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced at the Third Astana Economic Forum.
    Meanwhile, inflation in the first six months of the year was 4.4 percent, the Statistics Agency of Kazakhstan reported.
    The economic-growth showing, one of the world’s best, indicated that the government’s recovery program is working, kazinform.kz quoted Nazarbayev as saying.
    Growth in gross domestic product began kicking in late last year, allowing Kazakhstan to end 2009 with an economy that was 1.4 percent larger than in 2008. Most of the world’s economies shrank last year.
    The figures show that “Kazakhstan prevented recession and preserved economic growth,” the president said.
    The economic crisis that began in 2007 has been “a serious challenge for us,” Nazarbayev said.
    The government’s measures to combat it have proved effective, however, he said.
    Inflation in June was 0.2 of a percent, the Statistics Agency reported.
    Food prices increased 0.1 of a percent between May and June, and non-food prices 0.5 of a percent, the agency said.
    Prices for services rose 0.1 of a percent.
    The prices of a number of foods decreased in June. They included sugar, down 1.9 percent; bakery and cereal products , 0.4 of a percent; rice, 1.2 %; flour, 2.2 percent; milk, 5.9 percent; other dairy products, 0.9 of a percent; eggs; 6.9 percent; vegetables as a whole, 0.8 of a percent; tomatoes, 10.2 percent; and cucumbers, 11.7 percent.
    Foods whose prices increased included potatoes, 1.5 percent; fruit, 1 percent; animal oils, 0.9 of a percent; meat and poultry, 0.8 of a percent; and soft drinks, 0.5 of a percent.
    Non-food price increases included clothes and footwear, 0.4 of a percent; medicine, 0.6 of a percent; construction materials, 1.2 percent; tobacco products, 2.3 percent; gasoline 2.5 percent; and diesel fuel, 0.5 of a percent.