Kazakhstan’s foreign trade in money terms totalled $18,234.4m in January-April 2016, a 29.8% slump on the same period of last year. Trade with the Eurasian Economic Union member states also fell in the given period – by 28.6% to $3,624.2m. Foreign trade is still feeling the pressure from unfavourable conditions on global markets, an economic crisis in Russia, a slowdown in the Chinese and Western economies, as well as the continuing fall in oil output in Kazakhstan.
Negative external factors seriously damage exports which are pronouncedly based on raw materials (fuel and energy accounts for 72%). They shrank by 31.2% year on year to $11,029m. Exports fell mostly in January – by 43.6%. Export revenue was hit by record slumps in benchmark oil prices on global markets at the beginning of the year. The main export destinations were the EU (46.4% if the total), China (12.8% and Russia (9.6%). The EEU member states accounted for 10.5% of total exports.
As a result of shrinking domestic demand for investment and depreciation of the national currency, imports also decreased significantly to $7,205.2m in the first four months or by 27.7% year on year. January was also problematic for imports as they fell by 41.4% year on year. The top three suppliers were Russia (32.7% of the total), the EU (25.7%) and China (14%). The EEU accounted for 34.2% of total imports.
The current economic slowdown is fraught with an even deeper collapse of exports. Imports, being less elastic thanks to greater diversity in terms of both structure and geography, show more moderate contraction. At the same time, Russia’s share in imports at nearly third points to certain dependence of Kazakhstan’s foreign trade on the northern neighbour and on goods.