Kazakh National Bank Governor reiterates tenge stability24 january 2015, 13:57
Governor of the National Bank of Kazakhstan Kairat Kelimbetov has once again assured the population of Kazakhstan of the stability of the national currency, the tenge, Tengrinews reported from the Mazhilis, lower chamber of the Kazakh Parliament, on January 21.
Kelimbetov said that the government and the National Bank jointly adopted an action plan of economic, fiscal and monetary policies for 2015.
"We are closely monitoring all the events that are taking place in the world. Of course, we are primarily interested in the changes in the prices of oil. There are different opinions as to what the price of oil will be but many analysts are now saying that the average annual price will be around $50 per barrel. The government and the National Bank have calculated various scenarios that envision appropriate changes in fiscal and monetary policy. I, as Governor of the National Bank, once again reiterate that the regulator does not intend to allow sharp exchange rate fluctuations in 2015," Kelimbetov said to the members of the Mazhilis.
According to him, the work to reduce the share of non-performing loans in Kazakhstan's commercial banks down to 10 percent will be completed in 2015. He also said that the inflation rate was expected to be within 5-8 percent. Moreover, Kelimbetov pointed out that the government was prepared to face negative external dynamics.
“The National Fund was created in 2001. We have been channeling windfall profits from oil that we acquire as part of budget revenues in the the fund. We have already accumulated more than $73.6 billion as of last year. This is an increase of 3.3 percent from 2013. Foreign exchange reserves of the country suggest that we have a reliable reserve and a margin of safety,” Kelimbetov said.
The head of the National Bank noted that many believe devaluation of the tenge was inevitable. "There are many different kinds of predictions. High devaluation expectations are due to two factors: low oil prices and the depreciation of the Russian ruble. I would like to emphasize that the more important factor for us is the prices of oil. We will closely monitor them. But today I believe that we will not allow sharp fluctuations of the tenge," he added.
Addressing the problem of high devaluation expectation in Kazakhstan after the nearly 20% devaluation of the tenge in February 2014, Kelimbetov spoke about measures to improve public confidence in the national currency. He reminded that in the joint statement of the government and the National Bank in late 2014 it was promised that the safety deposits in domestic banks of up to 10 million tenge per bank were guaranteed by the state. He explained that this was done to stimulate savings in the national currency. The guaranteed amount of savings per bank was approximately $54,000, which Kelimbetov contrasted with $21,000 of guaranteed money in Russia.
“If you have deposits in all Kazakhstani banks, this means that deposits in each of these banks are guaranteed. In this case we have calculated, the total possible guaranteed amount exceeds 300 million ($1.63 million) per person. One can safely keep this amount in the (Kazakh) banks,” Kelimbetov said.
Finally Kelimbetov informed that the National Bank intended to reduce its stake in Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE). According to KASE, the National Bank owns 50,1 percent.
"The National Bank is reducing its share in the stock exchange. We used to own 51 percent, but we want to reduce the share to less than 25 percent, with an intention to attract strategic investors into the stock exchange and increase its representation," Kelimbetov said.
Writing by Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina