8 Nov 2017 10:30

EBRD revises Kazakhstan's 2017 growth forecast upward to 3.8%

ALMATY. Nov 8 (Interfax) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) expects Kazakhstan's economy to grow 3.8% in 2017, the bank said in a statement.

In May 2017, the EBRD forecast that the Kazakh economy would expand by 2.4% in 2017.

The EBRD kept economic growth for Kazakhstan in 2018 unchanged at 3.5%.

"Following a significant slowdown over 2014-2016, real GDP growth in Kazakhstan accelerated to 4.3% year-on-year in the first nine months of 2017 from 1.1% in 2016, supported by the recovery in oil exports and stronger activity in construction, agriculture and transportation," the statement said.

Kazakhstan's exports rose 32% in the first eight months of 2017 in US dollar terms, after falling by 20% in 2016 and 42% in 2015; imports were up 18% over the same period, according to the EBRD.

"Growth is expected to reach 3.8% in 2017 and remain strong at 3.5% in 2018, driven by increasing crude production, including from the restarted Kashagan oil field, favorable oil prices and a recovery in real income growth," the statement said.

Inflation is expected to remain within the 6-8% range set by the National Bank of Kazakhstan in 2017-2018.

"Banking sector consolidation is ongoing with mergers of the largest banks and injections of state funds to clean the balance sheet of banks with the largest shares of NPLs," the statement said.

Kazakhstan's National Economy Ministry expects GDP to grow 3.4% in 2017. Last year, the country's economy expanded by 1%.