MonthNovember 2016

Politics and Macroeconomics

Politics and Macroeconomics

Politics and Macroeconomics

Kazakhstan to Boost Exports of New Harvest Grain to 3.5 Million Tonnes Kazakhstan could export up to 3.5 million tonnes of this year’s new harvest grain, a spokesman for the agriculture ministry said. Taking into account the expected demand, 2001 harvest grain exports porno may be 2.5 million tonnes to the Commonwealth of Independent States and, taking into account countries outside the CIS, they may be up to 3.5 million tonnes,” he said.

Kazakhstan exported about three million tonnes of grain last year, but with this year’s bumper 18.3 million tonne bunker weight wheat harvest (compared to 12.9 million tonnes last year), that number seems inevitably poised to rise. Kazakhstan has a surplus of 9.5 million xvideos tonnes of grain this year, but the country has had difficulties exporting some six million of it, the spokesman said, declining to cite reasons. (Reuters)

Government Does Not Foresee Cut in Oil Production The Kazakhstani government does not plan on instructing national oil company Kazakhoil to curb crude production, despite the decline in world oil prices and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) advocacy of cuts in production, Deputy Prime Minister Oraz Jandosov stated on xnxx November 12. “The Kazakhstani government is not even considering the issue,” Jandosov said.

Jandosov pointed out that the government can only answer for the 6.5 million tonnes produced by Kazakhoil, not the remaining roughly 34 million tonnes produced by privately owned companies operating in Kazakhstan. “The rest will be produced by oil companies with foreign participation for which the Kazakhstani government is not responsible,” Jandosov said. (Interfax)

Low Oil Prices Could Prompt Government to Draw on National Fund in 2002 Kazakhstan could draw on money from its USD 1.2 billion National Fund, which re-invests revenues earned from the country’s oil and gas industry projects, if oil prices remain below redtube USD 19 a barrel for an extended period next year, Deputy Prime Minister Oraz Jandosov revealed. Jandosov said that low oil prices would mean that the government would “transfer money to the budget” from the National Fund’s stabilization funds.

Low oil prices would also compel the government to slash some of the KZT 90-100 million in planned budget-funded investment projects, Jandosov said. The deputy premier also said social spending would not be affected. (Interfax) National Bank Targets 2001 Inflation Rate of 6.2%

The main priority of the Kazakhstani National Bank in the coming months will be to hold the country’s annual rise in inflation below 6.2% and to keep the budget deficit below 2.3% of Gross Domestic Product, Deputy Minister of Economy and Trade Galym Orazbekov stated at a government meeting on November 8. At the same time, the ministry of economy and trade is focusing on stimulating consumer spending.

“The government has budgeted KZT 100-120 billion to increase wages for employees at state-owned companies as well as pensions and allowances in the 2002 budget in order to encourage consumption,” Orazbekov stated. In addition, the government’s 2002 budget proposal includes a 20% increase in investment to complete buildings already under construction.

The ministry of economy will also work to promote the import-substitution program, with a target of USD 450-500 million in import-substituted goods for the year. In this connection, the ministry hopes to introduce a general quality control system to ensure the competitiveness of Kazakhstani goods and services. (Interfax) Kazakhstan’s Foreign Reserves Climb to 3.8 Billion

Kazakhstan’s total foreign reserves, which includes gold and foreign currency reserves as well as the National Fund, rose by 4.5% during the month of October to total USD 3.8 billion, National Bank Deputy Chairman Bisengaly Tajiyakov disclosed at a Majilis plenary session. Kazakhstan’s net gold and foreign currency reserves rose by 6% in the month of October to total USD 2.6 billion. Kazakhstan’s foreign currency reserves rose by USD 167 million as the finance ministry bought currency on the international market. Gold assets dropped by USD 20.2 million due to a 3.4% drop in world gold prices during the month.

The country’s monetary base shot up during the past month by KZT 3.8 billion to KZT 154.2 billion. Tajiyakov also noted that since the beginning of the year, the share of 12-month securities’ share in the country’s overall treasury liabilities accounted for 97.6%; last year the share of 12-month securities in overall liabilities didn’t exceed 86.5%. (Golden Eagle Partners)

Russia’s brewers are hit by restrictions in ads and shortage of cans

Russia's brewers

Russia’s brewers

by Nicolay Dombrovsky
(On the materials of the press)

Judging on the TV ads beer is ranked among most demanded goods in Russia. Only oil is being produced and consumed in bigger amounts in the country Beer is regarded as a special drink – not fully strong but rather a kind of soft one. Beer is a kind of all-national drink because no age restrictions are specified for its sale. This is why the ads of beer are permitted for airing on TV in difference from ones of wine and vodka. At the same time the Russian business never recognized any self-restrictions. In result too much poor quality TV beer ads are aired in the country.
Two months ago President Vladimir Putin himself pointed out apparent excessiveness of beer ads on TV.
And so the State Duma deputies adopted amendments to the Law “On Advertising” imposing strict restriction on the beer ads last Saturday. Henceforth it is prohibited to use human and animals characters in the beer ads as well as any suggestions that beer relieve the thrust and plays an important role in promotion of drinkers in their way to the top.
The draft restricts ads of strong drinks and beer containing more than 8.6 per cent alk.volume and introduces additional requirements to the ads of beer with alk.content of 1.21 to 8.6 per cent. The draft prohibits strong drinks advertising on behalf of public and political figures, well-known actors, and figures of culture and sportsmen.
In addition the ads should not targeting teenagers. The ads should not be placed in printed publications, radio and TV programs for teenagers as well as within 100 m. range of secondary schools.
One could expect that advertising companies have to stop airing poor quality ads. The restriction will force them to create more sophisticated ads while making customers more discriminating.
There are no evidences though that excessive advertisement of beer leads neither to decrease in consumption of vodka nor to increased beer consumption among teenagers.
Some Russian major brewery companies took part in the working out of the draft while those who didn’t express their indignation now.
Deputies in the first hearing had approved the draft. The document had been worked out in collaboration with the Russia Brewers Union and major breweries “Baltica”, “Ochacovo”, “Krasny Vostok” and other companies. The breweries themselves have set to lobbying some restrictions on beer ads. It should be remained that six months ago the Legislative Assembly of Omsk has submitted a proposal on total prohibition of the beer ads on TV and has presented the draft of law to the Duma consideration. The hearing was scheduled on March 13 but the draft had been revoked in the last instant.
However, the amendments need some additional finishing, the Vice-President of Sun Interbrew Mrs. Irina Kibina believes that otherwise the draft if adopted would have resulted in banal war of logotypes. According to Mrs. Kibina the proposed restrictions on ads ranked second in the world in toughness after French ones. The restrictions if approved would have induced brewers to abandon their ads campaigns, the President of Russian Advertising Bodies Association Vladimir Evstafiev believes. Amendments in fact represent total prohibition of beer ads because these may be applicable to any kind of advertising, said the Director General of the Lowe Company, which advertises brands of Tolstiak and Klinskoye beers.
The big losses would result due to restrictions on the beer ads. According to the Russia Advertising Association just TV ads alone amounted for $60 millions in 2001 in Russia.
At the same time the prices for canned beer are bound to rise.
Viktor Pyatko, the head of Bravo International brewery, wrote a letter of complaint late last week to the Ministry of Economic Development, calling for lower custom taxes on the import of aluminum cans. If the government does not hear his request, Bravo International will have to introduce higher prices on its canned alcoholic beverages, something Baltika already did a week ago.
Pyatko’s letter comes a few weeks after the government decided to increase almost twofold the customs taxes on imported aluminum cans. The tax increase, designed to protect the can-manufacturing industry, has heavily penalized the beverages industry and resulted in huge loses for the biggest Russian breweries.
“We lose $1 million every month because of this tax raise,” said Gennady Gushchin, Baltika director of raw materials. “The government’s decision is absolutely inconsistent and does not serve anyone, either the government or the can industry,” he added.
Rostar and Reksam, the only two factories in Russia that produce aluminum cans, are indeed unable to cover the breweries’ growing demand for cans. As the factories’ combined production amounts to 1 billion cans a year, Baltika, which buys 1.8 billion cans a year, is forced to import a large volume of cans from Poland-based Can Pack.
Baltika already had to introduce a 10 percent price increase on its canned beverages, which include some of Baltika’s beer and Party Mix alcoholic beverages. Bravo, which releases brands such as Bochkarev, Okhota, Lowenbrau and other alcoholic beverages, is likely to follow. “Our budget will greatly suffer from the government’s decision. To compensate for the losses induced by the tax raise, we will also have to increase prices,” Pyatko said.
Large Russian breweries have been promoting cans as a new, fashionable type of packaging, releasing beer in half-liter cans. “The demand for canned beer has been increasing rapidly, and we have recently invested over $4 million in a new line of cans.
“Cans are more ecological, more hygienic, and more progressive than bottles. They present fewer difficulties in production and packaging, and generally are more appealing than the heavy glass bottles used in Russia,” Pyatko said. Besides Baltika and Bravo International, other breweries such as Vena and Stepan Razin have also started focusing on canned beer.
The price increase is now likely to affect the popularity of canned beer, still relatively new on the Russian market of alcoholic beverages, and freeze the demand for this type of packaging. “The tax raise will definitely paralyze the development of canned alcoholic beverages. The Russian population has a low purchasing power, and even a two-ruble increase affects the demand for a product,” Pyatko said.
With the government now under fire from breweries and Pyatko’s letter likely to be followed by others, some still hope that the tax raise, precisely because it is inconsistent, will be only temporary.
“From experience, I can describe the typical procedure in this type of situation: the government makes a decision, then we write a letter of complaint. After a period ranging from six months to a year, the government understands that the decision was a mistake and cancels it. The problem lies in the fact that our government refuses to listen to the comments of the industries concerned by its decisions. It prefers to learn from its own mistakes,” Pyatko said.

How invulnerable is Putin?

putin

Putin

A Moscow investment bank recently concluded that President Vladimir Putin’s popularity has become so solid, “almost no imaginable political development can significantly affect it”
That’s quite a leap of imagination for a banker, but as the assessment is widely held in domestic, as well as foreign circles, it’s worth taking a closer look at the evidence; and also at the way the president himself is acting, to see if he feels as secure as everyone thinks he should be.

The most important indicator is non-payment of wages or wage arrears – the infamous tax invented by ex-officials Boris Yeltsin, Yegor Gaidar and Anatoly Chubais. According to the official numbers, as of January 1, this fell 14 percent compared to the month earlier. The arrears total was Rb29.9 billion (US$1 billion). In absolute terms, this is the lowest level since 1996, when the International Monetary Fund, the Clinton administration and Chancellor Helmut Kohl were pumping cash into the Russian treasury to help Yeltsin win reelection that year. In terms of comparative purchasing power, the current arrears total is much lower than then.

The composition of the wage arrears is also worth noticing. Wage arrears due to shortfalls of budget spending by federal, regional and other government authorities fell 22 percent in the month of December. Wage arrears due from enterprises also fell, but less steeply by 13 percent. Most of the wage debt now owed to Russia’s workers is concentrated in the military-industrial complex that is administered by Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov. This is one reason why he should be feeling more nervous than his colleague in charge of making up budget arrears, Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Makviyenko. Watch their body language and count their eye-blinks when they speak to Putin, and you can tell. According to the Helmer theory of Russian political economy, people who haven’t been paid, spend their time blaming the Kremlin for their pain. When arrears rise, the president’s rating falls. The only time this has happened over a sustained period since Putin took office as president, was between May and August of 2000. The Kursk disaster compounded the fall in Putin’s popularity.

Recently, as wage arrears dwindled, Putin’s rating has moved in the predicted direction. Between December and January, public approval of his performance rose from 73 percent to 75 percent. It’s hard for any politician to do better than that; it’s harder to sustain that level of approval for a lengthy period. Other opinion polls show that the vast majority of Russians believe that shortage of cash is their most pressing problem, followed by shortage of adequate health care, which amounts to the same thing. The visible Soviet lines in front of physical resources have been transformed into invisible lines in front of cash that hasn’t been paid. So long as Putin keeps convincing the electorate that the end of the line is coming up soon, he won’t be blamed for the wait.

If Putin translates the wage arrears data into political action, then it’s obvious he must do more to stimulate the military-industrial complex, and the related heavy machinery manufacturers, into producing and selling more of their goods, generating the cashflow that turns into wages paid on time. And so when the Bush administration tries to block Russian arms exports, as well as nuclear reactors, US officials are striking at one of the foundations of Putin’s domestic support. The same can be said of American, as well as European efforts to shut out Russian metal imports.

It is easier for President George W Bush. As he tries the same budget financing of the military to support his political rating, Bush doesn’t have to export arms in the conventional way. He can simply launch, fire, or drop the weapons, in order to fuel the procurement process at home. Putin’s approach is more peaceable, and, ironically, more vulnerable to opposition. But Bush can hardly expect to succeed in pressuring Putin to accept both the sacrifice and the blame.

Nor can Putin be reassured by the sign that in the last quarter of 2001, capital outflow from Russia more than tripled, compared to the third quarter. This suggests that under pressure of falling world prices, lower sales volumes, and rising domestic costs, the owners and managers of Russian enterprises increased the volume of the dividends they paid themselves offshore. According to the Helmer theory of Russian cashflow, the more insecure enterprise owners are, the more they pay themselves, and the less they pay everyone else – their workers in wages, their companies in invested earnings, the government in taxes.

So here we have something of a paradox. Wage-earners seem to have been feeling more secure, so Putin’s rating has risen, and he feels more secure. On the other hand, the captains of industry appear to be feeling less secure, so they have been cutting expenditure inside the economy, and exporting cash abroad.

Another way of looking at this replaces the paradox with a clock. If enterprise cashflow doesn’t improve this quarter, then wage arrears will start to rise, and Putin’s rating is sure to follow downwards. So the question to be asked is not whether Putin is as invulnerable as last month’s statistics suggest. Rather, the question is what is being done to reverse the direction of the cash flow? This is the cutting edge of Russian politics. It is the answer to this question Putin asks himself every day that determines which enterprise, which oligarch, which government minister or underling will feel the brunt of the next attack. Of course, the more uncertain the targets are about their future, the faster they spirit their cash away. And the faster they do that, the harder Putin must pursue them. In this race no one can afford to feel invulnerable.

Kazakhstan 2014

Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan

Midway through the rally a local emergency official asked the protestors to disperse from Almaty’s central Republic Square due to a bomb threat, though most of those gathered refused to leave, saying it was an attempt by the authorities to silence them. On January 18 some 900 delegates to a joint meeting of Kazakhstani opposition parties arrived at their meeting place, a local theater, only to find it sealed off by riot police. The gathering was moved to a nearby circus that organizers had also booked for the day, anticipating that their original plans might be undermined in some way. At the meeting, the delegates voted to begin porno collecting signatures on a petition for a national referendum on local elections.
21 January 2014

KAZAKHSTANI DELEGATION TRAVELS TO AFGHANISTAN

An delegation of Kazakhstani officials headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Kayrat Abuseitov traveled to Afghanistan this week to establish diplomatic ties with the new government in Kabul, Khabar state television reported. The delegation also includes representatives of the Kazakhstani military, including General Staff head Colonel Malik Kasymov.

The key aim of the mission is to offer diplomatic support to the interim Afghan government as well as to work out plans through which Kazakhstan can supply humanitarian aid to the war-torn country.

Abuseitov met with Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah to discuss the opening of a Kazakhstani diplomatic representation in Kabul. In addition, Abuseitov announced that Kazakhstani peacekeepers could be sent to Afghanistan this summer.

The Kazakhstani delegation also met with Hamid Karzai, head of the Afghan interim government.
15 January 2002

NEWSPAPER ATTACKS MINISTER OF STATE REVENUES

Major Kazakhstani newspaper Novoye Pokoleniye on January 11 published a front-page story accusing Minister of State Revenues Zeinulla Kakimzhanov of accepting gifts of hotel accommodations and airline tickets from top Kazakhstani companies whose tax payments his ministry is supposed to oversee.
The article alleges that Kakimzhanov regularly stays in deluxerooms at five-star hotels during his frequent travels to France, Spain and Italy. The newspaper also claims that charter flights for the minister’s vacations are often booked by top managers at major Kazakhstani companies.
As further “proof” that Kakimzhanov lives beyond his means, Novoye Pokoleniye reported that the minister celebrated his last birthday at a posh restaurant in Paris and that he regularly goes for medical examinations at leading clinics in Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
“Our minister acts like a two-faced Janus who, after exposing corruption among his subordinates in his department, goes to have fun gambling in Monte-Carlo,” the author writes.
14 January 2002

KAZAKHSTAN TO AMEND NORTH CASPIAN PSA

Kazakhstani Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Vladimir Shkolnik has been given the authority to conduct negotiations and conclude an agreement to make amendments to the production sharing agreement on the development of the North Caspian offshore oilfields, including the massive Kashagan field, originally signed in November 1997. A governmental resolution authorizing amendment of the PSA was signed by Prime Minister Kasymzhomart Tokaev on December 28, 2001 and went into effect that same day.

The government’s decision to alter the PSA reportedly stemmed from the departure of BP Amoco and Statoil from the Agip KCO (formerly

OKIOC) consortium that is developing the shelf and the transfer of those companies’ 9.52% and 4.76% shares, respectively, to “the other contracting companies.”

The Agip KCO consortium currently includes Italy’s Eni SpA, the operator of the project, as well as BG Plc, ExxonMobil, Shell, TotalFinaElf, Inpex and Phillips Petroleum.
10 January 2002

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