How much the average monthly wage in Central Asia had changed against the US dollar over the past decade?
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Kazakhstan has the highest per capita income among Central Asian countries.
Analyzing figures from 2010 to 2019, it is apparent that the median nominal wage in Kazakhstan in dollar terms had peaked in 2013, having equated to $ 707 or 152 thousand tenge in national currency.
Attributable to the depreciation of Kazakh currency and the move to a free float, the per capita income in dollar terms declined sharply in 2016, reaching their lowest level of $418 per month. Since 2017, the median dollar income levels have grown at a sluggish pace. The PCI indicator shows an increase by at least $11 for each subsequent year.
Whilst wages in the national currency are rising, they’re still less in dollar terms compared to 2010 numbers. In 2010, the PCI valued at over $527, whereas in 2019 it was nearly $485. The wages, therefore, had risen over the ten years in the national currency, but not in dollar terms.
It is important to note that tenge being an oil-linked currency is one of the weaknesses of Kazakhstan’s national economy. Thus, falling oil prices can dramatically affect the depreciation of the currency.
Uzbekistan ranks second among Central Asian countries in terms of per capita income in US dollars. From 2010 to 2015, the country had seen steady wage growth in dollar terms, but with the devaluation of the national currency from 2016 to 2018, the numbers had plummeted.
The minimum wage in dollar terms was recorded in 2018 at around $ 225.8, and the absolute maximum of $ 456.6 was reached in 2015. There has been a slight increase since 2019, despite the continued currency depreciation.
Turkmenistan ranks third after Uzbekistan in terms of population income in the region. According to the CIS Statistical Committee, the annual average exchange rate of the US dollar to the Turkmen manat had changed only three times in ten years, which is quite unusual for the countries of Central Asia.
When comparing the figures from 2010 to 2019, the highest salary level in US dollars was reached in 2014 at $ 404.6, the second peak was reached in 2017 at around $ 401. The lowest salary in dollars of $260.6 was recorded in 2010.
It should be noted that there are some data gaps in the statistics for Turkmenistan.
Kyrgyzstan is at the penultimate place in terms of PCI indicators in the Central Asian states. At the same time, the country had experienced relative stability compared to other neighboring states.
The wage growth was observed from 2010 to 2013, but with the depreciation of the national currency, in 2014 and 2015, the wages in dollar terms had declined. There has been an increase in wage levels from 2016 to 2019. According to the CIS Statistical Committee, it peaked at $246 in 2019, whilst the minimum level of $ 156.4 was reached in 2010.
Tajikistan ranks last among Central Asian states in terms of income. There was a slight increase in the country’s wage level from 2010 to 2014, but with the depreciation of the national currency in the subsequent 2015 and 2016, the wage level in dollar terms dropped by about $ 21.
But while the Tajik somoni depreciates against the US dollar year by year, the median dollar income levels have been steadily rising from 2017 to 2019.
It is important to note that Tajikistan’s highest median wage of $165.4 was achieved in 2014, and the lowest of $ 80.9 was recorded in 2010.
This material has been prepared as part of the Giving Voice, Driving Change – from the Borderland to the Steppes Project. The opinions expressed in the article do not reflect the position of the editorial board or donor.