Kazakhstan economy hit by Russia recession, China slowdown — Nazarbayev

ASTANA (TCA) — Kazakhstan’s economy has been hurt by the economic slowdown in China and recession in Russia, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said during his meeting with the heads of foreign diplomatic missions in Astana on March 2, RFE/RL reported.

“The economic decline and sanctions experienced by our ‘big neighbor’ Russia, which is one of our main trade partners, have had an effect on us, too. Trade has fallen by 20 to 25 percent,” Nazarbayev said.

“The economic slowdown in China has implications, as well. Under the circumstances, which are described by China as ‘a new normality’ and which I call ‘a new reality,’ we need to get accustomed to such [low] prices on oil, gas…and metals,” he said. “This is not easy. A good life quickly grows on a person, and it is very hard to slide back.”

The president said that despite the slowdown, container traffic through Kazakhstan to Europe from China will nearly double this year.

“The role of Kazakhstan as a transit territory is obvious. The flow of containers on the China-Kazakhstan-Europe route grew from 6,000 in 2013 to 48,000 in 2015. It will amount to 95,000 containers in 2016, which has never happened before,” he said.

Nazarbayev also said that integration potential of the Eurasian Economic Union and implementation of China-proposed Silk Road Economic Belt project will strengthen Kazakhstan’s position as an important business partner and hub in Eurasia, the president’s press service reported.

Sergey Kwan