Kazakhstan’s Foreign Trade and Logistics Market Today and Tomorrow

Kazakhstan’s foreign trade market has been decreasing in the volume of exported and imported goods since 2014. For the year 2016, the International Monetary Fund predicts further considerable decrease in foreign trade with the following figures: -14% in the import of goods, -21% in the export of goods.

At the same time, the experts of the IMF predict a sharp slowdown in the decline rate of imports to Kazakhstan for the year 2017 totaling -0.8%, and an insignificant increase of import in 2018. In terms of export, the IMF predicts the growth of Kazakhstan’s foreign trade by 10% for the year 2017.

The economic growth of Kazakhstan has been significantly kept down due to the fall in oil prices. The beginning of the year 2016 was marked by a sharp rise in inflation caused by floating rate regime. However, the exchange-rate flexibility will subsequently have a positive effect on the competitive strength of Kazakhstan’s goods in the world market, which in its turn will make it possible to preserve positive dynamics of GDP growth.

IMF’s predictions









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Kazakhstan’s Foreign Trade Pattern (by Country)

According to the updated information of the Statistics Committee of Kazakhstan for January-February 2016, 40.5% of Kazakhstan’s trade turnover accounted for the countries of the European Union, 25.6% – for the Asian countries, 23.1% – for the CIS countries, 7.5% – for the European countries outside the EU, 2.8% – for the countries of the Americas, 0.5% – for the African countries, 0.1% – for Australia and Oceania.
In January-February 2016, the major trading partners of Kazakhstan were the following countries:
  • Russia with trade turnover 17.3%
  • Italy – 13,3%,
  • China – 11,9%,
  • Switzerland – 7,3%,
  • Netherlands – 6,8%,
  • France – 3,5%,
  • Germany – 3,1%,
  • Spain – 3,0%,
  • Japan – 2,9%,
  • Turkey – 2,8%,
  • Republic of Korea – 2,1%,
  • India – 2,0%,
  • USA – 2,0%,
  • Usbekistan – 1,8%.

These countries accounted for 80% of Kazakhstan’s trade turnover in total.

The biggest share in imports falls for cars, equipment and various vehicles totaling 38.1% of general imports, chemical industry production totaling 15.6%, metals and metalware totaling 15.2%, food and agricultural raw materials totaling 10.6%.

The following goods prevail in export commodity structure of Kazakhstan: fuel and energy resources totaling 66% of general exports, metals and metalware totaling 15.7%, products of animal and vegetable origin as well as food totaling 6.4%, chemical industry production totaling 5.1%.

Prospects for Kazakhstan’s Logistics Market

The major part of Kazakhstan’s freight turnover falls for railway traffic totaling around 60-65% and road transport totaling 30%. Railway traffic is common for many countries with large territories.

However, road transport is becoming more and more popular these days due to certain logistics projects, such as Western Europe – Western China international transit corridor. In future, this route will help reduce the time for the transportation of goods from China to Europe by 3.5 times as compared to the time taken by sea routes – i.e. 10 days by land instead of 40 days by sea. Kazakhstan also intends to become the major transportation hub within the Eurasian Economic Union on North-South corridor. These figures only prove that road transportation will increase in future.

Kazakhstan’s Logistics Market Saturation

By April 25, 2016, 398,206 legal bodies, offices and branches had been registered in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Most of businesses in Kazakhstan are small enterprises, which proves that the logistics market is still developing.

Most of businesses in transportation and warehousing fields are located in two big towns holding the major financial flows – Almaty and Astana, while the other regions are characterized by serious shortage of logistics companies.

The efficiency of logistics system depends not only on the development of transport infrastructure and the optimization of supply routes, but also on the modern high-quality storage facilities. Lately, the economists have been highlighting the shortage of warehouses, especially of A-class, in Kazakhstan.

Efficient warehousing system helping to minimize transportation expenses is still in high demand in the Republic of Kazakhstan and is investment attractive.

Today Kazakhstan’s logistics market is an infant sphere with great consumer’s demand. Rapid development of logistics answers to the purpose of Kazakhstan’s becoming one of the major transportation hubs in Eurasia and fulfilling its transit potential. This initiative will be supported by the government as well as by the investors primarily interested in the development of this sphere.

Prepared by Marketing Department of TELS group of companies according to the data of the IMF, the Statistics Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Elim market and social research institute.