11 May 2010 15:54

Kazakh economy grew 7.6% in 4 mths; 2010 inflation could be above forecast

ASTANA. May 11 (Interfax) - Kazakhstan's GDP increased by 7.6 % in January-April compared with the same period in 2009, said Prime Minister Karim Masimov.

"GDP rose 7.6% in four months," he said during a conference call in the government on Tuesday in Astana.

"Now we need to revise the basic figures we must to adjust to maintain the GDP growth for half year in annual terms at the same level," Masimov said.

"It's essential to ensure a steady GDP growth at 7%," Prime Minister said.

In 2009, GDP grew 1.2% in Kazakhstan.

The Kazakh Government forecast 2% GDP growth for 2010. However, the Kazakh Minister of Economic Development and Trade Zhanar Aytzhanova said the GDP projection would be revised upwards.

Inflation in Kazakhstan may exceed the earlier forecast rate by 6-8%, Kazakh First Deputy Prime Minister Umirzak Shukeyev said during the conference call.

"If last year's inflation totaled 2.8% in the first quarter, it has gone up to 3.6% this year. Inflation for 2010 is estimated at 6-8%. But we may expand the corridor by 9-10% if this trend [for food prices to grow] persists," Shukeyev said.

"But we still have time and we know what to do. We seriously hope that local akims [regional bosses] will resume the operation of special control centers for the prevention of rising food prices that were put in action last year during the crisis," he said.

"We need to devote the second quarter to resolving the food market issues; we are currently preparing a draft law on internal trade. I believe that this framework will allow stabilizing the food market's regulation mechanisms by the end of the second quarter," Shukeyev said.

March inflation was also 0.7%.

According to the official forecast, Kazakhstan's inflation rate will be 6-8% in 2010.

Kazakhstan saw year-on-year inflation of 6.2% in 2009.