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Oil price plunge thrusts Kazakhstan into crisis mode

Saudi-Russian spat slams local currency and compounds coronavirus fallout

Hydrocarbon-reliant Kazakhstan's budget is based on oil trading at $55 a barrel; the price recently dropped below $40.   © Reuters

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- The sharp decline of crude oil prices is threatening to derail Kazakhstan's economy and send its currency into a free-fall.

Oil is the central Asian country's biggest hard currency earner, and the price plunge compounds other challenges -- including reduced gas exports to China and a general slowdown in trade due to the global coronavirus outbreak.

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