Updated on 22.02.2019, 19:20 (AST)

JSC Kazakhstan Stock Exchange President Kadyrzhan DAMITOV:

Aftershocks of the global financial crisis of 2008 are still impacting on the current economic situation in Kazakhstan. Kadyrzhan DAMITOV, the president of JSC Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE) shared with Interfax-Kazakhstan his opinions about perspectives of Kazakhstan's stock market, behavior of investors and the future of stock trades.

- Mr Damitov, how would you describe the current status of Kazakhstan's stock market?

- Kazakhstan goes second after Russia if judging by the stock trading volume. We are ahead of Ukraine in terms of total trading volume, average daily volume, stock market capitalization, corporate and government bonds. In addition, Kazakhstan's legislation and infrastructure are in some respects better than those in the other CIS states. Our legislation places virtually no restrictions on foreign investors working in our market, unlike in other CIS countries. Our partners from the other CIS states recognize that Kazakhstan is more prepared for integration in terms of its infrastructure and legislation.

In 2010 real GDP of Kazakhstan grew 7%, which is the maximum growth rate over the past three years. Our three largest banks completed their debt restructuring. The year 2010 saw a significant reduction in the number of listed companies that defaulted on bonds. A number of Kazakhstan's big companies have successfully completed their programs for bond issue on the domestic and foreign stock markets. On the domestic stock market alone the listed companies attracted 64.8 billion tenge, or around $438.8 million in 2010, which is a record amount for KASE.

However, there are some problems that hinder further development of the domestic stock market. The biggest problem is that the Kazakh issuers of securities do not view the stock market as main funding base. They cite such reasons as low liquidity of the market, reluctance to disclose full information about their activities to an unlimited number of investors, investors' low demand due to high credit risks or poor brand recognition.

Besides, the existing payment system does not allow the foreign investors to boost their activities in Kazakhstan. Some restrictions the financial supervision agency introduced as part of its crisis response measures for banks, pension plans and other institutional investors also greatly impede development of certain segments of the stock market.

Nevertheless, the government bond market is well developed in Kazakhstan and Kazakhstan's Finance Ministry and National Bank successfully operate on this market.

Currently, KASE is carrying out a number of projects to address these problems of the market. After the barriers are removed, Kazakhstan's stock market will strengthen its position.

- What are your predictions about the stock market this year? How many new issuers do you think will come onto the market? How many may get de-listed? Do you expect any defaults and what new instruments will be introduced?

- Despite the fact that the real sector is suffering a certain shortage of financing sources, Kazakhstan's companies are, nevertheless, not very active in the primary stock market. The companies do not place shares very often as it would require new capital investments from the existing shareholders or the shareholders would have to agree to a lower stake in the company if shares are sold to other persons. More often the companies place bonds, however this instrument is only used by the companies of high credit quality whose needs for borrowed funds are not very acute, unlike the second- and third-grade companies. It would be too expensive for the second- and third-grade companies to place bonds as their credit risks are high.

As far as new listings are concerned, it would be a great achievement if the number of KASE listed companies, which has been falling since 2009, went up again. In 2008 we had 144 listed companies and only 107 today.

I do not rule out the possibility of new defaults. Unfortunately, after a quiet period three new companies have defaulted this year. They were the companies that never failed to meet their liabilities before.

There will be new tools. First of all, these are shares of a large state-owned company, which, we hope, will be floated on the market this year as part of the "People's IPO" Program. There may be new futures contracts for most tradable shares or for a new KASE_5 Index, which is under development now, which will be assigned to the shares of Kazakhstan's companies that trade their securities on foreign markets. KASE is also considering the possibility of launching yuan/tenge trades.

- Earlier there were reports that KASE may sell some of its shares to foreign investors, probably to Asian partners. Are these plans still on the table? If yes, who are the foreign investors you are in talks with?

- There is no specific plan to sell KASE shares. Such a possibility was discussed in the context of KASE's IT infrastructure development. KASE together with the regulator and market participants is developing a plan for the further modernization of the stock exchange IT-systems and infrastructure. If the project requires additional financing, shareholders may consider issuing new shares targeted at an international strategic partner. But I have to reiterate that no legal decisions have been made yet.

- Kazakhstan has announced plans to hold a "people's IPO" for a number of national companies. Do you think that campaign will achieve its goals and people will take an active part in the IPO? What companies can go for this IPO?

- The history of the world economy shows that an IPO, especially that for national companies, helps very much to develop the stock markets. However, we should bear in mind that it is up to the companies to decide if they will go for an IPO or not. There are a lot issues to be resolved in connection with the planned IPO and we are working on them now.

The level of financial literacy is still low, though a considerable progress has been made in this areas in recent years, also thanks to the training programs of the Regional Financial Center of Almaty. In this context, we expect that the population will take an interest in this program. We cannot give any figures but hope that there will be thousands of interested people.

As far as companies are concerned, such issues as expediency, preparedness, priority, etc. are being actively discussed by JSC National Welfare Fund Samruk-Kazyna. So, it is too early to talk about it.

- Thank you for your time!

July, 2011
й 2011 Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency
References are obligatory

July, 2011
© 2019 Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency
Copying and use of these materials without reference to the source is prohibited


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