A wise man once said....

"When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen you may learn something new." Dalai Lama

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Devaluation How will it affect us I don't know.

Kazakhstan devalues tenge by 19 percent to stymie speculators

Kazakhstan on Tuesday devalued its tenge currency by 19 percent to about 185 per dollar, taking the wind out of the sails of speculators and adjusting to the freer rouble float of its main trading partner Russia. Kazakhstan's tightly managed float was undermined by Russia allowing the rouble to slide in a broader investor retreat from emerging market currencies sparked by the scaling back of US monetary stimulus.

Analysts were surprised by the size of the move, which was far larger than the rouble's 5 percent decline this year, and reflected a desire to put a floor under the currency of the Central Asian nation, a big exporter of energy and commodities. "From a qualitative perspective it makes sense. The quantity ... is way too much," said Ivan Tchakarov, a Moscow-based economist at Citi who covers Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The central bank said it had targeted an exchange rate of 145-155 tenge to the dollar in the last few years, with a mid-point of 150. The shift of the mid point to 185 tenge to the dollar represents a 19 percent devaluation. Political turmoil in ex-Soviet Ukraine has forced the central bank there to loosen its grip on the hryvnia currency, which has lurched lower as President Viktor Yanukovich battles to contain a balance of payments crisis. Russia has suspended a $15 billion bailout until a new government can be formed.

Shortly after the central bank's announcement, the official rate of the tenge fell to 163.90 to the dollar from 155.56 on Monday. By 1140 GMT, the tenge fell by 18.81 percent to 184.99 per dollar on the Kazakh interbank market. "The National Bank will protect the tenge from sharp moves ... away from the new level of 185 to the dollar," central bank governor Kairat Kelimbetov told a hastily-called news conference in Almaty, the country's financial hub.

The central bank said earlier that it would ease support for the tenge and reduce currency interventions. It said its decision was coming into force immediately. "Potential for speculative and inflationary expectations has now been exhausted," Kelimbetov said in reference to the central bank's devaluation move. The bank said its actions had been prompted by volatility on international markets caused by the US Federal Reserve's gradual withdrawal of its quantitative easing policy.

Northern neighbour Russia remains Kazakhstan's main trade partner, and the bank said its move had also been prompted by "the uncertainty of the exchange rate of the rouble". In order to avoid instability on the financial market and in the economy in general, the central bank said it had established a corridor of tenge rate fluctuations at a level of 185 per dollar plus/minus 3 tenge.

Kazakh Finance Minister Bakhyt Sultanov told a news conference he was confident that Kazakhstan would not revise its official forecast for inflation of 6 to 8 percent this year. But Akhmetzhan Yesimov, the powerful mayor of Kazakhstan's commercial capital and largest city Almaty, told a government meeting on Tuesday that he would welcome rigid state controls on flour and bread. He said some shops in Almaty were limiting sales of some staple foods to shoppers. He did not elaborate.

Kazakhstan, a vast Central Asian country of 17 million people, is the second largest post-Soviet oil producer and the second-largest post-Soviet economy after Russia. Together with Belarus, the three have formed a joint Customs Union. Yaroslav Lissovolik, head of research at Deutsche Bank in Russia, said the new round of tenge weakness was "understandable - trade ties if anything have become stronger". One of the reasons behind the devaluation was Kazakhstan's worsening balance of payments due to rising imports, mainly of consumer goods, the central bank said. The share of deposits in foreign currency at local banks had been growing through the course of last year, an indicator of increased devaluation fears, Tchakarov said.
Copyright Reuters, 2014

Monday, 10 February 2014

Fishing through the Ice.

Turned into a lovely day. Cold but no wind. So we went off for a walk and got to the river. Loads of people fishing. Yes sitting on the ice  and digging holes in the snow. Then lowering in some line with bait on it. Seems very successful. We stopped out there and asked if we could take a picture. “No !”  But please sit down as we will take a picture of you ! See below.  Made the day.

I will admit it does not make me an expert ice fisherman but I can say “been there, done that!”

This all followed by a good hot meal !!!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Planning a trip to UK

Just some random thoughts on our next trip...

Organized a trip to Uk for the end of the month. So now in count down mode. Should be fun having a few days off and going to see my first Grandchild. Have not really figured it all out yet. We are coming back via Moscow. We had planned a few days there but as we are only going for 10 days total holiday it does not leave enough time. Departing Atyrau on Sunday 2nd. Few days in Farnborough for work, few in London to see the Grandchild and then it’s back to Atyura. A real flying visit.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Atyrau Down to -28 Deg C

It’s been cold but you know what you adjust. Now find myself wearing legging and an additional vest etc. Also getting used to being well insulated. Makes life comfortable. A Russian chap in the office told me we have an expression “ its not bad weather but bad clothing that makes you feel cold” And he’s 100% right.
It’s been a bit of “groundhog day” day in day out, over the last few weeks. One day same as the next. Having Wanna here has made a major difference. Going home at lunchtime and so forth really breaks up the days. Also having become a Granddad has been a major milestone. 
But day to day stuff seems to consist of work and then sleep followed by the new day and more work and  then….  Well you know the rest..it repeats…

This weekend we plan to have a decent walk round different parts of  town as temperatures are forecast to rise to – 4Deg C. Makes for a comfortable and good temperature if you keep moving. And there is a lot t see if you make the effort. Photos to follow.

The Team L to R, Stephen, Wanna and Peter

Dressed ready for the cold....

Frozen River Middle of Atyrau

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Feb 2nd Granddad Taid

Well what a surprise. Suppose I should have seen it coming over the last few months. That sounds dumb but even when Sarah told me she had stopped smoking and gone off booze it did not register. 

Sarah had a baby boy! Came in at 3.15 kg and about 50 cms long. Both Mother and baby fine. Fed the Dad, was very excited and I’ve added a couple of photos to the mix.

Wonderful. Life is quite amazing.