According to official statistics, Kazakhstan’s GDP continued to grow at a rapid pace during the first quarter of 2001, rising 11 percent above the level reached in the first quarter of 2000. While output growth was reported in almost all sectors, the key drivers of the 9 percent GDP growth recorded in 2000–namely strong growth in energy exports and sales to Russia–remain in place.
Industrial production was reported up 11 percent in the first quarter of 2000, thanks to a 22-percent output growth in the extractive sector. Oil production rose 20 percent from January through April compared to the first four months of 2000. Natural gas output rose 7 percent. These figures show how Kazakhstan continues to sharply ramp up production on top of last year’s gains, when oil output rose 17 percent and gas production rose 23 percent While overall industrial growth was down slightly compared to the 15-percent increase in industrial output recorded in 2000, it more than made up for the slower 8-percent growth reported in the manufacturing sector this year. The construction sector and retail trade were key drivers of growth in the first quarter: The volume of construction activities was reported up 18 percent, and the volume in the trade sector up 11 percent. Value added in transport and communications was reported up 10 percent as well.
Kazakhstan’s strong economic expansion in 2000 was also driven by 63-percent growth in dollar exports. This was evenly distributed between non-CIS markets (a reported 60-percent growth) and CIS–chiefly Russian–markets (a 65-percent growth). During the first quarter of 2001, by contrast, export growth slowed to 10 percent. Virtually all of this growth came on exports to other CIS countries, where a 25-percent increase was reported. By contrast, only 4-percent growth in exports to non-CIS countries was reported during the first three months of 2001. Although economic growth in Russia slowed to some 4 percent during the first quarter, strong Russian demand for imports from other CIS countries continues to be a major driver of economic growth in Kazakhstan (Interfax Central Asia & Caucasus Business Report, May 20; BISNIS Kazakhstan Commercial Update, May 2001).
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