The economy of Kazakhstan is the largest economy in Central Asia. It possesses enormous fossil fuel reserves as well as minerals and metals. It also has considerable agricultural potential with its vast steppe lands accommodating both livestock and grain production, as well as developed space infrastructure, which took over all launches to the International Space Station from the Space Shuttle. The mountains in the south are important for apples and walnuts; both species grow wild there.
Kazakhstan’s industrial sector rests on the extraction and processing of these natural resources and also on a relatively large machine building sector specializing in construction equipment, tractors, agricultural machinery, and some military items. Trade, Exports and Imports Kazakhstan’s economy relies heavily on oil and gas exports. In 2008, these resources accounted for 73% of the country’s total exports and its trade surplus was $33. billion. Partly to the global economic crisis, the nation’s foreign trade dropped by more than 40% in 2009 from the 2008 levels. Turkmenistan, another major oil exporter in the region, also suffered from falling energy prices. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have a large overseas worker pool in Russia. Being large labor exporters, the remittances account for 66% of the GDP of both countries. Kazakhstan’s exports were worth $41. 4 billion in 2009, a sharp fall from 2008 figures of $71. 97 billion. Oil, oil products, ferrous metals, chemical, machinery, etc. , were the top export commodities in 2009. Its primary export partners were China, Russia, Germany, Italy, Romania, France and Turkey. Kazakhstan’s imports in 2009 were worth $25. 15 billion, and its top import commodities included food, metal products, etc. Its primary import partners were Russia, China, Ukraine and Germany.