Embed This Data
- GDP (PPP):
- $451.3 billion
- 1.2% growth
- 3.5% 5-year compound annual growth
- $25,145 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- FDI Inflow:
Kazakhstan’s economic freedom score is 69.1, making its economy the 41st freest in the 2018 Index. Its overall score has increased by 0.1 point, with significant improvements in investment freedom and government integrity offsetting steep declines in fiscal health and monetary freedom. Kazakhstan is ranked 11th among 43 countries in the Asia–Pacific region, and its overall score is above the regional and world averages.
Kazakhstan’s government is well aware that the economy is overly reliant on oil and extractive industries, but initial attempts to open such sectors as transport, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, petrochemicals, and food processing to greater development and investment have been uneven. Notwithstanding some positive changes, investors remain concerned about corruption, bureaucracy, and arbitrary law enforcement, especially at the regional and municipal levels. An additional concern is the banking sector, which suffers from low liquidity, poor asset quality, and a lack of transparency.
Kazakhstan was the largest of the Soviet republics after Russia itself. President Nursultan Nazarbayev began his rule in 1989 during the Soviet era and won a sixth five-year term in 2015 against marginalized opposition. The lack of a succession plan creates longer-term uncertainty. Kazakhstan joined the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Russia and Belarus, in 2015. In 2017, the government took a modest first step toward democratic reform and constitutional change by shifting some authority from the president to the prime minister and parliament. Vast hydrocarbon and mineral reserves, especially in the Caspian Basin, form the backbone of the economy. Kazakhstan is the world’s largest producer of uranium and also has a large agricultural sector that features livestock and grain.
Secured interests in property are recognized in law. Although the government has improved the enforcement of contracts and has simplified property registration, property rights are not fully protected. Judges are subject to political bias. Corruption is not only evident in the judicial system, but also widespread throughout the government. Those who are in positions of authority are able to act with impunity.
The flat personal income tax rate is 10 percent, and the standard corporate tax rate is 20 percent. The overall tax burden equals 15.6 percent of total domestic income. Over the past three years, government spending has amounted to 22.2 percent of total output (GDP), and budget deficits have averaged 2.7 percent of GDP. Public debt is equivalent to 21.1 percent of GDP.
In 2016, Kazakhstan simplified the process for starting a business. Dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, minority investor protections, exporting, enforcement of contracts, and resolution of insolvency were improved, and labor regulations were made more flexible. The government also removed price controls on diesel in 2016. In 2017, however, it started a subsidy program for mortgage loans.
Trade is significant for Kazakhstan’s economy; the combined value of exports and imports equals 62 percent of GDP. The average applied tariff rate is 4.7 percent. Nontariff barriers impede trade. Government openness to foreign investment is below average. Troubled banks have been recapitalized, and the financial sector is largely stabilized, but the number of nonperforming loans remains high, concentrated mostly in three banks.