Kazakh companies are concerned about soaring import costs and stiffer competition from Russian rivals since the Central Asian country joined a customs union with Russia and Belarus on Jan. 1, a business lobby said.

Since the winter energy crisis two years ago, when freezing temperatures lasted for several weeks, cooperation dynamics within Central Asia have witnessed rapid change. Upstream Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which rely on electricity imports during winter, were hit particularly badly as they were unable to supply the population with enough electricity and gas. Consequently, Tajikistan was forced to declare a humanitarian crisis.

(SRI) - Bad loans remain the main systemic risk for Kazakh banks while liquidity and currency risks are gradually declining, Kazakhstan's central bank said Monday, citing its survey of the country's commercial banks.

Kazakhstan, the largest economy in Central Asia, is set for recovery after a bumpy 2009 in a process dependent on a number of external and domestic factors.

Kazakhstan threatened on Tuesday to rewrite key Western-run energy projects to implement new tax rules, in a move likely to send jitters among foreign investors operating in the Central Asian state.

ASTANA, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan, its economy slowly recovering from the global economic downturn, cut its 2010 growth forecast on Friday after recording better than expected results for 2009.

VIENNA – Kazakhstan is not ready to supply gas to Nabucco at this stage, but Astana is willing to consider supporting the gas pipeline to Austria as the former Soviet Republic develops its gas resources, and if the project makes sense economically, top Kazakh officials told New Europe in Vienna on 13 January.

Kazakhstan is becoming a "pure China play," supporting the country's economic growth and bolstering the equity market as links increase with the world's fastest growing major economy, according to Troika Dialog.

(SRI) - The 2010 budget for the development of the Kashagan field in Kazakhstan could be cut to $7.4 billion from an earlier plan of $10.4 billion, Kazakh state oil and gas company KazMunaiGas (KMG) proposed last week.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said Russia had won Turkey's backing for Moscow to build a key section of a new gas pipeline seen as a rival of an EU-backed project in Turkish waters.


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