S&P downgrades Kazakhstan as lower oil prices begin to bite

S&P downgrades Kazakhstan: The international rating agency Standard & Poor’s this week downgraded Kazakhstan’s credit rating from BBB+ to BBB, predicting that GDP growth rate would drop from 4.3% in 2014 to 1.5% this year. “We have significantly lowered our forecast for economic growth of Kazakhstan …. due to lower oil prices,” it said. “The pace of economic growth also slowed due to the expected impact on consumer demand (which has been a key factor for  growth in recent years),  the devaluation of the national currency, as well as external factors, including the economic downturn in Russia…At the moment, we expect that the price of Brent crude will average $ 55 per barrel in 2015 and $ 70 per barrel between 2015 and 2018.”  The oil sector accounts for between 20% and 30% of Kakhstan’s GDP, according to  the agency,  over 50% of budget revenues and 60% of exports. News.Kaz