Kazakhs prefer keeping money in foreign currency

By bne IntelliNews October 23, 2015

According to data from the National Bank of Kazakhstan (NBK), the volume of deposits amounted to KZT13.2tn as of the end-August (€42bn at the current exchange rate). The volume of corporate deposits reached KZT8tn and retail – KZT5.17tn.

In comparison to end-July, deposits increased by 11.8% which was the effect of the sharp depreciation of the tenge after switching to a free floating exchange regime on August 20. The detailed picture clearly shows that the volume of deposits denominated in foreign currency surged by 27% m/m to KZT7.8tn while deposits in the national currency shrank by 5% m/m to KZT5.4tn.

At the same time, the individuals prefer keeping their savings in foreign currency despite the NBK’s efforts to dedollarise the economy. As of the end-2014, the volume of individual deposits denominated in foreign currency stood at KZT2.96tn against KZT1.43tn in the tenge. As of end-August, individuals held KZT3.785tn in foreign currency and KZT1.382tn in the tenge. The trend clearly shows that the population does not trust the national currency. Given the volatility on the currency exchange market, it is likely that the volume of deposits in foreign currency will increase further.

In case of legal entities, the volume of deposits denominated in foreign currency stood at KZT3.52tn as of end-2014 and increased to KZT4tn as of end-August. Deposits in the tenge increased from KZT3.76tn as of end-2014 to KZT4tn as of end-August. This shows that individuals are more engaged in converting their tenge savings into foreign currency while businesses prefer to keep deposits in the tenge.

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