“TIDBITS” is an occasional column for updating information provided in previous blogs, reporting news that is interesting but not the subject of a blog, or simply drawing attention to something that deserves an audience.
WORLD BANK: KAZAKHSTAN ONCE AGAIN MOVES UP RANKS IN ‘EASE OF DOING BUSINESS’ SURVEY; JOINS ‘TOP 10 IMPROVERS’
The World Bank has issued its annual report on the progress of 85 developing countries throughout the world in implementing business reforms. It is entitled Doing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency. Click here to see the page dedicated to Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan rose 12 places in the rankings, taking 41st place between Croatia and Hungary.
The report checks on the implementation of 169 business reforms during the past year. Top 10 improvers must have implemented at least three reforms during the past year and must have moved up the rankings scale.
I know from personal experience of completing World Bank questionnaires that Kazakhstan, like other countries, treats the ranking as an important element in its image abroad. The authorities do take deliberate steps to perform as well as feasible in the rankings. Of course, like any such ranking, whether in sport, government or stock exchange reports, those concerned often look for the painless steps to take in order to move ahead of their competitors. In the case of a country, this might entail searching the list for improvements most easily made without requiring any fundamental change. However, the Ease of Doing Business survey has been going on for many years, and there are only so many painless improvements that can be made.
AUTO INDUSTRY: ASSEMBLY PLANT FOR TOYOTA CARS
When President Nursultan Nazarbayev spoke at the Kazakh-Japanese business forum on Tuesday, October 27, 2015, he referred generally to the launch of a new facility for the assembly of Toyota model automobiles in Kostanai. This was interpreted in some quarters, such as Akipress, as an entirely new development. It is likely, however, that the President was merely acknowledging an important past investment from Japan, which it would be quite customary to do when leaders of two nations meet to discuss economic cooperation in an open forum. The President probably was referring to the 2014 development by Toyota Motor Corporation. Toyota then announced that production of the “Fortuner” SUV began on June 11, 2014, at the Kostanai production facility of Saryarka AvtoProm LLP. The plant hired 100 additional employees to help produce 3,000 units per year. This is an assembly process is referred to as CKO – complete know-down production. Click here to see Toyota’s press release on the start of Toyota auto production in Kazakhstan.
Back Reference: October 26 blog on KAZAKHSTAN: THE AUTO INDUSTRY – ARE WE READY FOR THE KAZMOBILE?
TENGE CONTINUES SLIDE
Despite some intervention in the exchange rate market by Kazakhstan’s National Bank, the tenge has continued to slide in value in relation to the U.S. dollar during the month of October, according to data from the official exchange rates posted on the website of the National Bank of Kazakhstan, according to Trend. The rate on October 1 was 270.98 tenge per dollar but, after a steady fall during the month, it reached 278.92 tenge per dollar on October 28.
To recap the developments, on August 20, 2015, the National Bank of Kazakhstan floated the tenge and ceased trying to manage its value within an established corridor. The tenge’s value immediately fell by 26%. During September the National Bank intervened – spent dollars to buoy up the tenge – in an effort to dampen the volatility of the exchange rate. After this, the tenge temporarily rose in value on September 24-25 to 264.12 per dollar. Further intervention occurred on October 9 pertaining to the exchange rate for euros.
Back Reference: See October 15 Blog on “THE WORLD’S MOST VOLATILE CURRENCY” – SAYS BLOOMBERG
Learn more about Kazakhstan by reading my book – West Meets East in Kazakhstan. This consists mainly of articles I wrote for The Almaty Herald newspaper in the 1990s and later years. The book is about my perceptions as an American expatriate of life in and around Almaty in the 1990s. The book is available in soft cover or as an E-book through publisher AuthorHouse, and the websites of Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
In some countries, the book may not be available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble if they do not store copies in their overseas warehouses.