Kazakhstan

The Baikonur Report 31-Oct-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
Kcell revenues up 6% in Q3 (Telecompaper 30-Oct)
Kazakh & British companies cooperation agreement (Astana Times 28-Oct)
KMF mandates EMGA $15m from Austria’s OeEB (Astana Times 30-Oct)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Kazakhstan Remains Nazarbayev’s State (The Diplomat 29-Oct)
Visas waived for 57 Countries (Caspian News 02-Oct)
Oil production surging despite pledge to cut (Bloomberg 25-Oct
The Baikonur’s View 
To sustain economic growth, Kazakhstan wants to diversify its economy away from oil and into  green energy. While Kazakhstan recognises the need for a shift towards green energy, oil still plays a major role. Oil production reached an all-time high this month. ENI and Total are planning yet more offshore oil explorations.  On a more positive note,  these very same companies are planning to launch renewable energy projects.
On the political side, the Baikonur is less positive. Nazarbayev’s sustained power shows a lack of commitment to fresh air and real changes as promised.
Fun Fact: The Polish community Polska Jedność in Astana joined the #abai175 poetry challenge, commemorating the 175th anniversary of the great Kazakh poet, Abai Kunanbayev (Kazinform 30-Oct)


The Baikonur Report 30-Sep-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
State sells Kazatomprom stock to boost liquidity (Global Capital 26-Sep)
Italy’s ENI, GE win renewable contract in Northern Kazakhstan (New Europe 25-Sep)
IPOKazakh FinTech rumoured to aim for $5B IPO valuation (Pymnts 16-Sep)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
China, Kazakhstan strengthen ties (Manila Times 28-Sep
Dozens detained in Kazakhstan at anti-China protests ( Financial Post 21-Sep)
Kazakhstan continues to push for a nuclear-free world (UN News 24-Sep)
The Baikonur’s View 
Kazakhstan keeps on pushing mutually beneficial partnership ties with China. Not everybody, however, sees these relations as being equally favourable. A part of the population worries about the growing influence China is building up in the country. In the past, the Baikonur has reported that due to its favourable geographic location and thus a trading hub for the central Asian region, Kazakhstan benefits as a transit centre for Chinese goods for instance. However, new developments and the reallocation of several Chinese manufacturing plants make China the big winner in this. The Baikonur believes in the benefits of these Chinese investments but strongly hopes to see more regulations by the Kazakh state to control these developments and achieve truly mutual benefits to foster its position in Central Asia.
Fun Fact: How many humps on a camel? In Kazakhstan, it’s complicated. Most of them are now a version of one and a half humped hybrids (NY Times 01-Sep


The Baikonur Report 31-Jul-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
KazUAV to provide drone services (Astana Times 23-Jul)
Citigroup continues to invest in Kazakhstan, drive market share, revenue growth (Astana Times 09-Jul)
Suntech launches first solar project (PV Magazine 26-Jul)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Kazakhstan to create network of trade missions abroad (Kazinform 23-Jul)
Telecom market grows 4% in H1 (Telecompaper 24-Jul)
Visa-free travel introduced (Caspian News 24-Jul)
The Baikonur's View
The country is actively working to attract foreign investment. At the same time Kazakhstan seeks to cut dependence by entering new sectors and substitute former imports such as sugar and explore new opportunities in the non-extractive sector. New roads are being built which not only facilitate trade but also foster Kazakhstan's position as a transit hub. Increasingly tight relations with major economies such as India and China also contribute to Kazakhstan's position in the global economy. The Baikonur sees investment in the country at this time as a strategic move. The Baikonur expects more investors to jump on the bandwagon.
Fun Fact: Stunts founder achieves long-held wish to work with Disney (Astana Times 23-Jul)


The Baikonur Report 30-Jun-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
YDA $286m for 2 multi-regional hospitals (Astana Times 17-Jun
Baiterek Holding, Euler Hermes $1.1bn export credit insurance deal (Astana Times 24-Jun
Lives'Talk and Samsung Electronics launch livestock GPS tracking project (Times CA 28-Jun
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev elected president with 70.96% of vote (Astana Times 11-Jun
Voting day marred by mass detentions (Eurasianet 09-Jun)
Kazakhstan ends bank bailouts, writes off people's debts instead (Al Jazeera 26-Jun
The Baikonur’s View 
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev won the presidential elections as expected. A wave of protests has erupted over the country. Protesters were detained and clashed with police. Kazakhstan seems to favour economic growth over political development, namely freedom of expression and an active opposition, for example.  However, the Baikonur sees the greater political participation as positive which might help the transition to a full and transparent democracy and lead Kazakhstan into a new political era. The international community has been aware of the crackdowns. The Baikonur senses pressure for political change on the country to keep up positive foreign relations.
Fun Fact: Camel milk ice cream production launched in Kyzylorda (Kazakh-tv 24-Jun)


The Baikonur Report 31-May-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
AIFC, Bitfury to jointly implement blockchain projects (Astana Times 21-May
Tyson eyes multibillion-dollar bet on Kazakh beef as route to China (Financial Times 23-May
Kazatomprom sells 75% of solar manufacturing business (Pv Magazine 20-May)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
US-China trade wars could benefit KZ (Caspian News 30-May
Protests in KZ demonstrate democratic dismay (The Diplomat 03-May
Kazakh ex-president collects yet another title, honorary senator (RFERL 30-May
The Baikonur’s View 
Increasingly, people are starting to question the apparently democratic elections set to take place in June. The population is raising concerns about being left out of national decision making processes. Demonstrations are largely non-violent. The Baikonur does not expect any major disruptions to take place. One thing, however, is clear: the people want change which they are not likely to get in the near future.
Economically the country is performing well. Exports, especially in the agricultural sector, are steadily increasing. The Baikonur is pleased to see diversification efforts which will be crucial in achieving the goal of becoming listed among the 30 most developed countries by 2050. 
Fun Fact: A man in Kazakhstan held up a blank sign to see if he’d be detained. He was. (New York Times 09-May)
 


The Baikonur Report 30-Apr-2019
Top 3 Company Headlines
Halyk Bank to provide women entrepreneurs KZT1bn in loans (Astana Times 03-Apr
Samruk-Kazyna net KZT343bn in Q1 (Kazakhstan Newsline 30-Apr)
Baiterek Holding joins World Bank Group’s Global Initiative (Baiterek 15-Apr)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
Succession clears roadblock to foreign investment (Financial Times 16-Apr
Kazakhstan’s Business Roadmap 2020 financing increased 57% (Astana Times 10-Apr
Tech modernisation of customs administration (UNCTAD 17-Apr)
The Baikonur's View
Political uncertainty persists but a sigh of relief comes with early snap elections in June. The Baikonur expects Tokayev’s interim presidency to continue. Time for new candidates to organise is limited and Nazarbayev’s daughter is unlikely to run. Tokayev, who has served with the ruling party, Nur Otan, for 25 years is likely to maintain major foreign and domestic policies if re-elected.
Large expansion in trade cooperation with Western European and East Asian countries strengthens Kazakhstan’s role as a strategic trading partner in Central Asia. The Baikonur expects a domino effect of yet more mutually beneficial cooperation.
Fun Fact: Hydroponic greenhouses supply Almaty, Nur-Sultan with fresh pesto (Astana Times 28-Apr


The Baikonur Report 31-Mar-2019

Top 3 Company Headlines
Microsoft Kazakhstan to assist domestic companies integrate AI technology (Astana Times 18-Mar)
Kostanai car manufacturer expanding export markets (Kazakh-tv 19-Mar)
Goldman Sachs Group boosts KAZ Minerals (LON:KAZ) price target to GBX 600 (PR 22-Mar)
Top 3 Macro and Risk Headlines
President Nazarbayev to step down after three decades (Financial Times 19-Mar)
Central bank keeps rate at 9.25% (Reuters 04-Mar)
S&P affirms Kazakhstan’s credit rating at BBB (Astana Times 18-Mar)
The Baikonur's View
The sudden resignation of President Nazarbayev came as a surprise. While giving way to a new generation of leaders, he retains control in key positions. The Baikonur believes major changes are unlikely. Foreign policy remains unchanged. 
Investment from France in solar energy and loans from the ADB are starting to pave a way for the sustainable energy sector. The Baikonur sees new opportunities within the sector and is optimistic. 
Fun Fact: WHO studies reveal Kazakhstan has among the highest levels of salt intake globally (WHO 07-Mar)