Kazakhstan plans no restrictions for foreign-currency operations

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ALMATY (TCA) — Kazakhstan’s chief banker has said the National Bank of Kazakhstan is not planning any restrictions on operations with cash foreign currency in the country, Novosti-Kazakhstan news agency reported.   

“We are not considering and not planning any restrictions for operations with cash foreign currency (…) and for withdrawal from deposits. That would not correspond to both the legislation and Kazakhstan’s international obligations in the sphere of currency-market liberalization,” National Bank Chairman Daniyar Akishev told a news conference in Almaty on January 21.     

He added that the National Bank’s position is that “issues of stabilization of the financial and currency market must not be resolved at the expense of our citizens”.

In the meantime, the National Bank has raised the interest rate on deposits of private individuals in the national currency and lowered the interest rate on foreign-currency deposits, starting from February 1.   

“With the purpose to increase the attractiveness of deposits in the national currency and cover the growing inflation level, starting from 1 February 2016, the maximum interest rate on newly opened deposits of private individuals in the tenge will be raised from 10 percent to 14 percent and in foreign currency lowered from 3 percent to 2 percent,” the National Bank said in a press release on January 21.     

According to the Bank, foreign-currency deposits now account for around 70 percent of all deposits in Kazakhstan.

The move comes as the tenge has reached a new record low in the morning of January 21 on the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE) — 383.23 tenges per $1, 11.2 tenges lower than yesterday.

Sergey Kwan

TCA