Kazakhstan invests $4.76 billion to stabilize banking system
ASTANA. March 2. KAZINFORM The Kazakh government has invested 716 billion tenge ($4.76 billion) to prop up the banking system, two-thirds of a planned bailout, leaving $27 million in reserve. The National Wellfare Fund Samruk-Kazyna, the primary conduit for the state’s economic anti-crisis program, has 364 billion tenge left to invest, of which 240 billion tenge will go into a real estate fund and 120 billion tenge for industrial and infrastructure projects, with 4 billion tenge left for «further measures the stabilize the financial sector.» Prime Minister Karim Massimov announced a $4 billion bank bailout in November, part of a planned 2.2 trillion tenge in state spending, almost a fifth of gross domestic product, to prevent the economy from contracting. The government will take $10 billion from the National Oil Fund, created to guard against a decline in crude oil prices. The government expects economic growth to slow to 1 percent this year after gross domestic product expanded 3.2 percent in 2008 to 15.9 trillion tenge. Kazakhstan holds 3.2 percent of the world’s oil reserves according to BP Plc. The government’s financial-sector investments focused on the country’s four largest banks, which received 476 billion tenge, the National Wellbeing Fund said today in an e-mailed statement. The fund deposited 212 billion tenge in BTA Bank, the country’s biggest lender, before using the money to acquire 75.1 percent of the bank’s common shares. Extra Cash Another 39 billion tenge was placed in a central bank account until a decision is made on additional investment in BTA, Arman Dunayev, the lender’s chairman and the fund’s deputy head, said on Feb. 13. Today’s announcement that the fund has only 4 billion tenge left for banks may indicate that BTA won’t see this extra cash. Adil Dosymov, a spokesman for BTA, wasn’t available for comment when contacted by Bloomberg News at his office and on his mobile phone. The government also said on Feb. 16 that it would give 43 billion tenge to BTA to help the mortgage market and 22 billion tenge to lend small and medium-sized businesses. The fund deposited 120 billion tenge each in Kazkommertsbank and Halyk Savings Bank, the country’s second- and third-largest lenders, and 24 billion tenge in Alliance Bank, the fourth-biggest, Kazinform cites Bloomberg.