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Over 20 deals signed during Kazakh president’s visit to US

22 Jan 2018 10:29 AM | Anonymous

More than 20 agreements on cooperation in investment, trade and economy were signed during Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s visit to Washington, his press service said on Wednesday.

"Within the framework of the head of state’s official visit, more than 20 commercial documents about cooperation in investment, trade and economy were signed, with an aim to carry out projects in aviation and space research, petrochemical and agricultural sectors, as well as infrastructure development projects, worth about $7 billion in total," the press service said in a statement.

Three intergovernmental agreements were signed during the visit.

The US Department of State said that as a result of the president’s visit to Washington, Kazakhstan purchased US goods and services worth $2.5 billion in total. The sides also set to develop bilateral trade, which stood at $1.9 billion in 2016.

"During the visit, numerous commercial contracts and documents were concluded, including new agreements between The Boeing Company, GE Transportation, GE Digital, Chevron, Air Astana, KazTemirZholy, SCAT Airlines, and the Samruk-Kazyna National Wealth Fund for the purchase of US products and services valued at over $2.5 billion," the Department of State said.

According a fact sheet, released by the US Department of State and the Kazakh president’s press service, the country’s air carriers signed agreements with Boeing worth $1.3 billion. "During their visit, the two leaders celebrated two separate deals between Boeing and Kazakh airlines totaling over $1.3 billion, sustaining an estimated 7,100 direct and indirect US jobs," the statement reads.

Specifically, Kazakh air carrier SCAT Airlines ordered six Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplanes. With the first aircraft scheduled for delivery in March 2018, these will be the first 737 MAXs owned and operated in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. In addition, Kazakhstan’s flagship air carrier Air Astana affirmed its commitment, under the terms of an existing contract, to purchase three 787 Dreamliners, which are scheduled for delivery in 2021.

Nazarbayev’s official visit to the United States began on Tuesday and will last through Thursday. During his visit, the Kazakh leader is expected to visit New York, where he will chair a high-level UN Security Council debate on confidence-building measures in the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons on January 18.

Kazakh economy minister: inflation rate won’t exceed 7 percent this year

Astana Times, 13 January 2018

Kazakh Minister of National Economy Timur Suleimenov said the inflation rate will stay within the projected corridor of 5-7 percent this year. He discussed the preventive measures to curb inflation which the government will take by the end of 2018.

Suleimenov noted the inflation rate was 7.1 percent in 2017, when it was supposed to stay within the 6-8 percent corridor. He answered journalists’ questions about high prices for some types of fruits and vegetables in winter, saying Kazakhstan still has a problem with seasonal supply and demand.

“We can’t provide the same volume of offers for vegetables and fruits in December, January, February and March as in July, August and September. Therefore, this particular seasonal surge has been observed in our country at all times,” he said.

At the same time, he noted the Ministry of National Economy and the Ministry of Agriculture are actively engaged in expanding the supply of fruits and vegetables. In particular, a great deal of work is underway to increase inventories, the number of warehouses and wholesale centres and wholesale distribution and trade in all major cities and towns.

The Ministry of National Economy has also proposed reducing intermediary links, although Suleimenov emphasised there is no need to categorically dispose of all mediators.

“Trade intermediation is absolutely a normal economic activity, because not every farmer, not every peasant farm is able to deliver and produce its products on the shelves of bazaars and shopping centres at a distance of 100-200 kilometres. Mediation is just right for this,” he said.

The main thing, he noted, is that it does not become a dependent situation.

“Right now, our committee for regulation of natural monopolies and the protection of competition has legal levers: these are turn-over penalties and the withdrawal of monopoly income. While this year we did not stir anything, we will closely monitor the development of the situation,” he added.

The December inflation rate was 0.7 percent compared to the previous month and 7.1 percent year-on-year compared to 2016, according to the Ministry of National Economy statistics committee.

“One of the important trends of the past year was the slowdown of inflationary processes. Throughout the year, inflation was within the 6-8 percent target corridor of the National Bank and, as a whole, showed a downward trend. As a result of November, the consumer price growth index was 7.3 percent, which is lower compared to the end of last year – 8.5 percent,” said National Bank chair Daniyar Akishev.

Prices for confectionery rose 10.7 percent in 2017 and horsemeat and fresh fish prices grew 9.8 and 9.4 percent, respectively. The prices for sugar dropped 19.5 percent and sunflower oil by 9.9 percent.

Diesel fuel prices rose 31.8 percent last year, gasoline (17.6 percent), coal (17.4 percent) and liquefied gas (8.6 percent). Prices for healthcare services increased 7.9 percent, legal services (7 percent) and entertainment and culture programmes (6.9 percent).

Green energy to satisfy electricity demand in East Kazakhstan Astana Times, 17 January 2018

Solar installations, wind generators and a hydroelectric power station will be launched this year in the East Kazakhstan region.

“These projects are implemented to develop the green economy, one of the main aspects of EXPO 2017. The idea of constructing such power stations is particularly relevant in East Kazakhstan since the region has considerable resource potential and all the necessary prerequisites,” said East Kazakhstan Akim (Governor) Danial Akhmetov.

Clean energy stations are to be built in the Zharma, Ulan and Zyryanovsk districts.

The construction of hydroelectric power station on Turgusun River in the Zyryanovsk district is in full swing. The average annual electricity output is estimated to be 79.8 million kilowatt hours and the total cost of the project is 11.6 billion tenge (US$35.4 million).

Wind generating stations are to be completed in the Shar and Zhangiztobe villages in Zharma district. Another wind power plant is to be constructed in the Tainty village of the Ulan district with a production capacity of 25 megawatts per year.

In Zhangiztobe village, the construction of a solar power station is also coming to an end. The facility, with a price tag of 17.5 billion tenge (US$53.4 million), is capable of producing 30 megawatts a year. This project is included in the list of energy producing organisations of the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

“The akims (mayors) of Zharma, Zyryanovsk and Ulan districts should monitor the implementation of these projects, hold monthly meetings and provide necessary support,” said Akhmetov.

This year, renewable energy will meet the electricity needs of the East Kazakhstan region and its neighbouring districts.