Kazakhstan Moves Front and Center

If stature and confidence are the making of a robust frontier-market story, then Kazakhstan may have a very good run. The local equity market has already gained about 28% in dollar terms this year. For diplomats, unfolding Kazakh-sponsored talks on the Syrian crisis spotlights the nation’s role on the global stage. For investors, the key fundamental is an attempt to sort out non-performing bank loans. A plan is now emerging to transfer reserves from the sovereign wealth fund to support finance-sector restructuring. That effort will give the economy the foundation that it needs to break out of its current lethargy. The IMF, however, may be generous in its just-revised 2.5% growth estimate for 2017. The danger is that we could see a downturn in the oil price, sapping liquidity from the largest economy in Central Asia. Kazakhstan produces about twice the amount of oil as nearby Azerbaijan.

Our Vantage Point: The oil-price collapse was a direct hit to the Kazakh economy. As Astana positions itself beyond geopolitical shadows, efforts to engineer growth depend on the impact of a bank restructuring program.

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Image: Talks on Syria—involving Russia, Turkey and Iran—are now being held in Astana. Credit: Lolik at Can Stock Photo Inc.

Found Attaché

Bourse Performance

We spotlight the best-performing stock exchanges across emerging markets worldwide.

Top Five
Year-to-Date Through 30 August 2019

Egypt32.6 %
Greece21.9 %
Russia19.5 %
Colombia12.2 %
Thailand9.1 %

Data is shown on a price-return basis in US dollar terms for the broad market index. In this context, we do not report on narrow segments such as China A shares or Russia ADRs. This list excludes performance information on smaller, so-called frontier markets.

Source: MSCI.