There is no any open position on futures contract at KASE

/IRBIS, March 31/

Settlement of the futures FUSD0003UN to the sum of $1000 was made today on KASE. 5 positions at the price of 141.94 tenges for dollar were closed. The current quotation of futures before closing was 145.00 tenges for dollar.

At the moment of trades closing on KASE remained no any open position on the curency futures contract.

Ministry of Finance of Kazakhstan plans to place in the next wek MEKKAM-12 and MEKKAM-6

/IRBIS, March 31/

For the firs half of the next week the Ministry of Finance of Kazakhstan plans to make two issue: MEKKAM-6 and MEKKAM-12.

MEKKAM-6 auction (issue #133, KZ46L0510A07) will be held on April 3. Settlement date is April 6; redemption date � October 5, 00; term of circulation- 182 days; planed volume � 500 million tenges.

MEKKAM-12 auction (issue #39, KZ4CL0504A18) will be held on April 4. Settlement date is April 6; redemption date � April 5, 01; term of circulation- 364 days; planed volume � 500 million tenges.

Total volume of State Securities of Kazakhstan (SS) redemption for next week (April 3 � 9) reaches 3,879.8 mln tenges at the current offical dollar rate:

� March 6 - redempion MEKAVM-6 #16 � 4.1 mln dollars;

� March 6 - redempion MEKKAM-6 #15 � 995.6 mln tenges;

� March 7 - redempion MEKKAM-3 #258, #258 � 1,245.0 mln tenges;

� March 9 - ABMEKAM coupon payement � 7.5 mln dollars.

Total volume of SS redempion (with the National Bank notes) � 4,343.7 million tenges.

The Ministry does not exclude possibility of other placements in the second half of the week.

Capitalization of the market of Non-state Securities of Kazakhstan on March 31 - $2,228.3 million

/IRBIS, March 31/

On March 31 capitalization of the exchange market of Non-state Securities of Kazakhstan (A + B + N without the State Block of Shares) has amounted to $2,228.3 million.

For two weeks capitalization has grown by $19,210 due to increase in price of:

� common shares of JSC Bank TuranAlem -by 1.4%;

� common shares of JSC Halyk Sevings Bank of Kazakhstan - by 16.0%;

� common shares of JSC Corparation Kazakhmys - by 31.9%.

The deals can be made on KASE today in 89 tools of the 68 companies and 4 state blocks of shares.

KAZKOMMERTSBANK (Kazakhstan) works is going to place the next issue of euronotes

/IRBIS, March 31/

JSC KAZKOMMERTSBANK (Almaty, official list of securities KASE, category �A�) informs that it has nominated ABN AMRO Bank N.V. and Merrill Lynch International as the joint-lead managers for a new financing in the international capital markets. The terms and conditions of the new issue have not yet determined. The bank is in discassion with ABN AMRO Bank N.V. and Merrill Lynch International to finalise the terms, conditions and timing.

KAZKOMMERTSBANK received ratings B2 Moody�s, B- Standard and Poor�s, B+ Fitch-IBCA, B Thomson BankWatch; it is the largest bank in Kazakhstan concerning assets and ownership capital. It is the only one Kazakhstan�s emitter who has received access on the international capital market (except for the State).

The Bank carried out the first euronotes issue on May 08, 1998 (XS0081674359, $100 million, three years, semi-annual coupon 11.25% p.a.). As the emitter the Bank established the Netherlands Company KAZKOMMERTS INTERNATIONAL B.V. The issue was carried out under a complete bank guarantee. These euronotes find a good home market due to high yield and dollar nomination. Before exception of these bondss (under the emitter�s initiative) from the official list of securities KASE they were the most liquid tool of the Kazakhstan�s exchange market.

The press release is not an offer for sale in the United States.

The National Bank of Kazakhstan for April 1 - 4: 1USD/KZT = 141.90, 1DEM/KZT = 71.85, 1RUR/KZT = 4.90, 1EUR/KZT = 140.53

/IRBIS, Apr. 3, 00/ - For April 1 - 4, 2000 the National Bank of Kazakhstan has established the following exchange rates for accounting, customs and tax purposes: fr 1 USD 141.90 (+0.10) tenge; for 1 DEM 71.85 (+0.36) tenge; for 1 RUR 4.90 (-0.08) tenge; for 1 EURO 140.53 (+0.71) tenge.

Total of 33 currencies are in the list.

At additional session of KASE dollar was traded within KZT141.88 - 141.92 interval

/IRBIS, Apr. 3/

At Kazakhstan stock exchange (KASE) additional (day) trades in U.S. dollars, Deutsche marks and euros with TOD terms were held. 10 banks participated in the trades.

In U.S. dollars 7 deals were made during the trade for a total of $1.050 mln within KZT141.88 - 141.92 per dollar interval. At closing of the session (3:30PM) dollar quotations were at KZT141.84/89 per unit.

On TOM and SPOT terms there were no dollar quotations at KASE.

Weeks trade volume in Private Securities on KASE - $781.8

ALMATY, March 31


During 14th (March 37 � April 02) on the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange 24 deals were made in Private Securities to the total sum of 781,800 dollars, which is 25.9 times more than in the previous week (48,600 dollars), when 4 transactions were made.

It is necessary to note, that 2 deals held in past week in common shares of JSC T��i����� (TEBN, official list of securities, category ���) were cancelled owing to non payment of the purchased shtocks. Accordingly, the volume of exchange trades in the past week has made $30,200 at 4 ternsactions held.

In total 292,280 stock and bonds were purchased compared to 5,622 of the previous week.

The deals were made in 8 tools. The trade

in common registered shares of JSC Halyk Sevings Bank of Kazakhstan (HSBK, official list, category �A�) were most liquid. Two deals made in them have occupied 44.7%.

Also deals were made in preferred shares of KAZAKHTELECOM (KZTKp, official list, category �A�) � 21.9% from total volume of deals, and in preferred shares of Bank TuranAlem (BTAS, official list, category �A�) � 20.2%.

Volumes of deals in other securities were small.

From 24 transactions 11 have been conducted in the KASE Quoted System, excluding automatic satisfaction of the counter auction applications (so-called direct transactions), 13 � in the main trade mode. In the previous week 3 transaction were made in the KASE Quoted System and 1 � in the main trade mode.

U.S. dollar market of Kazakhstan: day results

ALMATY, March 31 (IRBIS)

Following is the table of major indicators of Kazakhstani market for U.S. dollar (more than 98% of country�s all currency market).

Trades in U.S. dollars at Kazakhstan stock exchange (KASE)

Session Main Additional. Evening Evening
Time of the trades (ALM) 10:15a-11:00a 11:30a-3:30p 2:00p-6:00p 2:00p-6:00p
Weighted average rate 141.95 (-0.02) Not indicated
Volume of the session (mln) 3.315 (-6.470) 1.600 0 0
Ask 141.92 142.02 141.97 142.00
Bid 141.94 142.07
Number of participants 18 9 3 3

Indicative U.S. dollar quotations on interbank market in information system REUTERS at closing of KASE sessions (disregarding settlement dates)

Ask 141.93 142.02 142.00
Bid 141.97 142.12 142.10

Notes: Best bid and ask prices at closing of the trades are shown as the Exchange quotations.

By indicative interbank quotations of the dollar in REUTERS information system, tenge lost 15 points in comparison with previous day closing on demand and 21 points on supply of the American currency.

The first half of the day was marked by firming of tenge against the U.S. dollar, which was in line with the trend that was formed on the market late yesterday. Under the influence of limited liquidity in terms of tenges the banks were not able to create essential demand in the main morning session of KASE today. Similar behaviors of the dealers were observed in the first half of additional day trades, where the quotations of the dollar were not so dynamic and fluctuated within 1-2 points.

In the afternoon the situation on currency market of the country began to change. The trend of firming American currency was getting more and more apparent both in final phase of the day trades of KASE and on interbank market. After the decision of OPEC and �tariff news� expectations regarding the devaluation remain high. And the banks use each opportunity to raise the market.

With this respect, today�s low demand for notes-28 of the National Bank was an indicator. Not long ago the banks would give all their free money for these notes. But the conjuncture changes and in current situation the market needs currency SS. This is absolutely true with respect to the assortment of instruments at KASE, where quotations were put out only on one paper denominated in tenge, while indexed by devaluation SS were represented in a wide range. Therefore, the hopes of the National Bank to neutralize free funds of the banks by offering the notes did materialize partially only. Banks chose the dollar.

Based on the movements of market indicators in the second half of the day, IRBIS specialists are tend to forecast 10-15 point firming of the dollar against tenge on Monday.

For the next week positions of the American currency seem to be solid considering extraordinary repayment volume of SS.

On IPE and NYMEX the price of oil has gone up again

ALMATY, March 31 (IRBIS)

According to PRAIM TASS the price of Brent North Sea Crude Oil May futures on IPE (London) by results of trade on March 30 has grown by 0.94% to $24.63 for barrel.

On NYMEX (New York) the price of Light Sweet Crude Oil with May delivery has grown by 0.95% to $26.70 for barrel.

At KASE dollar firmed as the activity of the dealers sharply fell


Today the next morning trades in U.S. dollars, Deutsche marks and euros were held at Kazakhstan stock exchange (KASE) with TOD payment terms. 18 banks participated in the trades.

Today the trades in U.S. dollars opened at KZT141.90 per unit. Total of 31 deals were made. Weighted average dollar exchange rate equaled to KZT142.00 (+0.05) per unit. Volume of the session � $610 th. (-$2.705 mln). Exchange rate fluctuation during the trade �0.14%. The trades were closed at KZT141.99/142.00 per dollar.

Activity of the dealers at KASE sharply declined today. Deals, made by the banks mostly at the end of the trades, were not large in volumes.

Despite low activity of the participants, the market of the dollar was settled at more higher level than it did on Friday, and in general, it was balanced. It is possible that the conjuncture was formed under some lack of the participants for free funds, which is confirmed by increased quotations of short money. Today at closing of KASE session they were at 14/20 APR against 3/13 of late last week.

One hour after closing of the morning session on interbank market of Kazakhstan dollar was quoted at KZT141.83/93 per unit. Two hours later � KZT141.80/95. In the day session of KASE with TOD payment terms at 12:30PM the dollar was at KZT141.90/91.

Deutsche mark, morning session, TOD: no deals. Closing demand � KZT69.90 for mark, offer was absent.

Euro, morning session, TOD: no deals. Closing quotations � KZT135.00/136.85 for euro.

Central Asia: Joint Military Exercise Practices Common Defense

By Bruce Pannier

A joint military exercise is under way in Central Asia involving seven nations. Known as �Southern Shield 2000,� the exercise is intended to practice preventing the kind of cross-border incursion that occurred last summer in Kyrgyzstan. RFE/RL correspondent Bruce Pannier reports.

Prague, March 29


Extremists beware. The military exercise �Southern Shield-2000� began in Tajikistan this week. Unlike last fall�s �Southern Shield� exercise, which existed only on paper, thousands of troops are mobilized for the largest military exercise yet held in the Central Asian nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Large contingents from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Russia are participating in the ten-day exercise, along with smaller groups from the defense ministries of Armenia and Belarus. Live fire exercises will be conducted in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, near the border with Afghanistan, on April 2 and 3. An exercise involving the air defense system will be conducted on April 5 and 6, from Belarus across to Central Asia.

The enemy in this case is hypothetical. But the commander of the exercise, Lieutenant-General Leonid Maltsev of Russia (senior deputy chief-of-staff of the Headquarters for CIS Military Cooperation), said the script for the exercise resembles what happened in southern Kyrgyzstan last year.

�These exercises are not simply someone�s imagination. These exercises are a response to real developments in the situation [of the region].�

Maltsev was referring to an armed incursion last summer, when as many as 1,000 Islamic extremists, mainly of Uzbek origin, crossed into the mountains of southern Kyrgyzstan. The militants seized villages, took hostages and held off the Kyrgyz army for two months.

The militants were a problem for Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, but also for Tajikistan, where they had established bases after fleeing from Uzbek authorities. Uzbekistan�s government had said the extremists were responsible for acts of terrorism.

The region has seen joint military exercises several times in the past few years. NATO sponsored exercises in the region twice under the Partnership for Peace program: in 1997 in southern Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and in 1998 in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Those exercises included troops from NATO countries, like the U.S and Turkey, and from NATO hopefuls, like Georgia and Azerbaijan, as well as from the Central Asian host nations.

But the NATO-sponsored exercises were not designed primarily to practice combating extremists. Instead, the exercises simulated bringing relief to civilians after a natural disaster, such as an earthquake or flood, and also helped prepare a Central Asian peacekeeping battalion that could be deployed abroad (Centrasbat). Part of the exercises did simulate defending or liberating key facilities captured by terrorists, such as airports or power plants.

What they did not do, however, was prepare the region for the actual threat that emerged last summer. When the genuine terrorists arrived in Kyrgyzstan, they did not seize any major facilities. They remained lodged in remote, high mountain areas, and Kyrgyzstan was left alone to confront them with only limited air support from Uzbekistan. The militants did take hostages: four Japanese geologists. Concern from Tokyo, a major investor in Central Asia, prevented the Kyrgyz army from taking stronger measures.

The threat from these militants, who call themselves the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, has not gone away. They seek to overthrow the government in Uzbekistan and create an Islamic state. Uzbek authorities say the militants are responsible for trying to kill President Islam Karimov in the February 1999 bombings in Tashkent. Most of them escaped back into Tajikistan at the end of October and are still there.

Colonel Mikhail Ivannikov from Uzbekistan�s Defense Ministry was in Tajikistan to observe the start of the exercise this week. He said Uzbekistan recognizes the necessity of cooperating with its neighbors to fight this armed group.

�Of course Uzbekistan is interested in conducting such exercises, because we cannot solve the problem of our state�s stability and security separately from our neighbors.�

Russia has consistently drawn comparisons between the Uzbek militants and the Chechen rebels, saying both groups are Islamic militants. Around the same time of the Kyrgyz hostage crisis, Russia was beginning military operations in Dagestan and later Chechnya, and Moscow took every opportunity to tell Central Asian leaders that they had a common enemy in Islamic extremism.

Uzbekistan seems to have been impressed by Moscow�s talk. Earlier last year, Uzbekistan had pulled out of the CIS Collective Security agreement. By year�s end, and following a December visit by Russian acting President Vladimir Putin, at that time prime minister, Tashkent had totally changed its view. President Islam Karimov was re-elected earlier this year and said at his inauguration that the militants would be defeated with Russia�s help.

The NATO-sponsored exercises in 1997 and 1998 were a source of pride to the three governments who sent troops to participate. It would be a sign of maturity and stability to send troops abroad to keep peace in far-away lands. But the militant attack last summer destroyed all that. Now, keeping the peace at home takes precedence.

Russia has not missed this opportunity. NATO will not send troops to help defend any of the CIS Central Asian states, but Russia is indicating it will at least help these countries defend themselves. President-elect Vladimir Putin reiterated at a CIS interior ministers� meeting earlier this month (March 10) that �terrorists� have done great damage to Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. He has also supported the idea of a CIS anti-terrorism center.

The question that remains is what will be the cost to the independent countries of CIS Central Asia for receiving such help.

(Farangiz Najibullah of the Tajik Service contributed to this report.)

HOLGER JENSEN: Mining Central Asia

April 2 (Nando Media)

Senior American officials are beating a path to Central Asia to discuss �security issues� in a volatile region hemmed in by Russia, Iran and Afghanistan.

CIA Director George Tenet visited Kazakhstan, Georgia and Uzbekistan last week. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright goes to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan later this month.

The official reason for these trips is to discuss drug smuggling, Islamic terrorism, spillovers from the war in Afghanistan, human rights and democracy in republics that have remained virtual dictatorships since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

But the real reason is gas and oil. Central Asia has more of the stuff than the Persian Gulf.

About 40 billion barrels of proved oil reserves have been found beneath the Caspian Sea and three adjoining countries, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. Up to 200 billion more barrels of oil have yet to be discovered, geologists say, along with huge deposits of natural gas.

What makes Caspian oil particularly attractive is that it is not controlled by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the Arab-dominated cartel responsible for two oil shocks in the 1970s whose recent cutback in production caused another price spiral at American gas pumps.

Unlike the Arabs, the Central Asian republics have no reservations about allowing foreigners to develop their energy sector. U.S. firms have won lucrative contracts there and Washington is pushing a pipeline project to bring oil from Azerbaijan through Georgia to Turkey�s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, bypassing both Iran and Russia.

The problem is that while they are rich in natural resources, all of Central Asia�s republics suffer repressive rule by former Communist Party bosses who have done little to address the appalling poverty and rising unemployment of their 55 million people.

This has spawned crime, arms and drug smuggling from Afghanistan - which recently overtook Myanmar as the world�s leading producer of opium - and a variety of Islamic guerrilla movements, both homegrown and imported, intent on overthrowing the existing order.

In his annual threat assessment to Congress in February, Tenet described Central Asia as �a breeding ground for a new generation of Islamic extremists, taking advantage of increasing dissatisfaction.�

Stephen Sestanovich, Albright�s top adviser on post-Soviet countries, said terrorist bombings, attempts to assassinate Central Asian leaders and cross-border attacks by armed groups �put security high on the agenda for Central Asian states. The focus of these

concerns is not energy but an overflow of Islamic fundamentalism.�

But Ted Carpenter, vice president of the independent Cato Institute, says energy is clearly a factor: �All of this suggests the so-called Silk Road strategy: trying to establish a zone of U.S. influence that would minimize the influence of Russia and Iran.�

Overt U.S. interest in a region that Russia has always regarded as its �near abroad� risks a replay of The Great Game, the 19th century contest between Russia and Britain for control of the Central Asian trading routes that carried silk and spices from the Far East to Europe.

With his ferocious pursuit of Muslim rebels in the southern province of Chechnya, Russia�s new president, Vladimir Putin, has already reinforced Moscow�s determination not to be excluded from a region over which it has historically held sway.

And his new foreign policy, approved by the State Security Council two days before his election, demands greater protection for 25 million ethnic Russians who live beyond Russia�s borders. �We have to defend in a more active way the interests of our citizens who have chosen to live permanently in other countries,� Putin said.

Russia already has troops in Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Georgia. Putin and Central Asian leaders talk the same language when it comes to denouncing Islamic fundamentalism. And all fear a Taliban victory in neighboring Afghanistan.

That is why Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, among others, are arming Afghan opposition leader Ahmad Shah Masood, who is still resisting Taliban rule in the northern part of the country. If he is chased out of Afghanistan altogether, he will probably be granted sanctuary and allowed to continue his war from Russia�s near abroad.

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