Price growth outpaces wage increase in Kazakhstan

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ASTANA (TCA) — The average monthly salary in Kazakhstan increased by 15.6% year on year to KZT 143,600 in the 2nd quarter of 2016, while prices of goods and services increased by 16.8% with food prices increasing by 27.4%, Ranking.kz reports.

The highest salaries were paid to Kazakh citizens working in the professional, scientific and technical sphere (KZT 308,400, up by 34.2% year on year). Among the top three highest paid sectors also were finance and insurance (KZT 300,100, up by 30.7% year on year) and information technology and telecommunications (KZT 200,200, up by 3.6%).

High paid sectors traditionally are the mining sector (KZT 296,300, an 18.2% increase year on year), but the average monthly salary in industry as a whole was KZT 186,200 (up by 15.8% year on year). In the processing sector the average wage stood at only KZT 147,700 (an increase of 15.9%), power distribution – KZT 130,400 (up by 4%). The average salary in the water supply, sewage and waste sector was KZT 90,700 (up by 12.9% year on year), which was the lowest paid sector along with agriculture (KZT 78,400, a 12.6% year on year increase). These two sectors still have average wages below KZT 100,000.

The highest increase in the average wage was in the professional, scientific and technical sphere (34.2%), finance and insurance (30.7%) and education (23.7% to KZT 104,400).

Regionally, the highest average salary was in oil-producing regions in the second quarter of 2016 – Atyrau Region with KZT 265,200 and Mangistau Region KZT 237,300, and capitals – Astana with KZT 205,500 and Almaty KZT 187,300.

In terms of annual growth, the leader was Atyrau Region (up by 26.2%), West Kazakhstan Region (25.3%) and Kostanay Region (17.6%).

At the same time, annual increase in costs of goods and services in the same period outpaced growth in wages and stood at 16.8% (prices of foodstuffs increased by 27.4%, those of non-foodstuffs by 13.9% and services by 10.1%). Moreover, the annual rate of inflation reached 17.6% in August with food prices going up by 28.3%.

It is worth noting that in the second quarter of 2016 the annual inflation rate was highest not in regions with the highest growth in wages but in regions with the highest purchasing power (that is the highest wages). The highest inflation rate was recorded in Astana (22.3% year on year with food prices increasing by 43.7% against a 11.9% growth in wages), followed by Almaty (17.8% against a wage growth of 15.6%). As a result, the purchasing power of people in the regions with the highest wages is falling.

Sergey Kwan

TCA