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Central Asia oil economies bucking global slowdown: IMF

Published on Nov 12, 2012 7:21 PM

ALMATY (REUTERS) - Oil- and gas-exporting countries in Central Asia should take advantage of growth of around 5.5 per cent this year and next to invest in developing other industries, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Monday.

The region is currently shielded from a global slowdown by high commodity prices and moderate exposure to Europe, a senior official said.

The IMF backed investment in health, education and infrastructure but advised Kazakhstan and other countries in the former Soviet region to spend wisely to avoid overheating and to develop a tax base that is less reliant on energy.

"There's a temptation to spend a lot. While this is welcome, it's important to keep in mind not all of the oil wealth can be spent while it's being earned," said Mr Juha Kahkonen, deputy director of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia department.

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