Kazakhstan forecasts 3.1 pct GDP growth in 2011
By Raushan Nurshayeva
Kazakhstan, the biggest oil producer in Central Asia, forecast on Tuesday that economic growth would slow to 3.1 percent next year from a forecast 4.0 percent in 2010 before picking up over the following two years.
Economy Minister Zhanar Aitzhanova said Kazakhstan's industrial production would grow 3.6 percent in 2011, up from 3.3 percent forecast this year, while inflation next year would remain within the 6.0-8.0 percent corridor estimated for 2010.
"In the medium term, our GDP (gross domestic product) growth forecast is 3.1 percent in 2011, 3.3 percent in 2012 and 3.5 percent in 2013," Aitzhanova told a government meeting.
Kazakhstan, Central Asia's largest economy, has grown by an average 9 percent annually over the last decade, although rapid growth driven by high oil and metals prices slowed during the global financial crisis. In 2009, the economy grew 1.2 percent.
"The completion of industrial projects and an increase in demand for the products that Kazakhstan exports will facilitate industrial production growth of 3.6 percent in 2011 and 3.9 percent in 2012 and 2013," she said.
Kazakhstan will also swell state coffers next year by doubling its export duty on crude oil to $40 per tonne from Jan. 1, less than six months after reinstating the tax on exports.
"The most substantial contribution to revenues (in 2011) is forecast from an increase in the export duty on oil from $20 per tonne to $40 per tonne," Finance Minister Bolat Zhamishev told the same government meeting.
Even at $40 per tonne, the duty is only a fifth of the level applied before the tax was scrapped in January 2009 in a move to help producers ride out low crude prices during the financial crisis.
But analysts have compared Kazakhstan's reintroduction of the duty to efforts by Russia and other resource-rich nations to become more assertive with foreign investors at a time of a high oil price cycle.
Aitzhanova said Kazakhstan's latest macroeconomic forecasts were based on an average crude oil price of $65 per barrel between 2011 and 2015.
U.S. crude oil futures CLc1 fell to below $74 per barrel on Tuesday, extending losses for a second day, as expectations of higher crude inventories fed fears of a slowdown in global economic growth, according to Reuters.