Recent events in Kazakhstan typify the difficult positions in which sanctions have put certain countries.
By Geopolitical Futures –
May 10, 2023
Kazakhstan balances. Russian mining company Polymetal has asked its shareholders to approve the re-registration of the company at the Astana International Financial Center, which will move the main listing of the firm from the United Kingdom to Kazakhstan. Relocating to this new jurisdiction will protect it from international sanctions, the company said. For its part, Kazakhstan wants to remain neutral in the competition between Russia and the West. The government had recently tightened control over the supply of certain electronics to Russia for fear of running afoul of sanctions, so distributors have begun to bypass the country, adding as much as 12 percent to the final cost for Russian importers. Allowing Polymetal to relocate, then, could be seen as a compensatory gesture.
Europe’s search for oil. Kazakhstan’s national oil transportation company, KazTransOil, reported moving 24 percent more oil through the port of Aktau in April than it did in March. The overall increase is due to higher-than-normal shipments to Baku, Azerbaijan. Europe considers Kazakhstan a viable alternative to Russian oil, but Russia is still an important transit country for Kazakh oil. Meanwhile, after Iraq and Saudi Arabia raised their prices for raw materials, European refineries have been forced to pay huge bumper premiums for oil from the Middle East.