Monday, July 09, 2007

Borat's revenge: Kazakh-Burgh

I read this on the plane and thought it worth noting.. but I see the local news has picked up on the AP blurb that a small stake in Westinghouse may be sold to Kazatomprom, the Kazakh state-owned resource company. One snippet buried in the printed version of the Financial Times version is how the recent deals announced by Westinghouse have reduced the length of time required for Toshiba to recoup its investment in the purchase of Westinghouse from 17 to 14 years. That clearly has a corollary with how big an impact the Westinghouse expansion will have on the region.

but it makes me wonder.... would this investment make Pittsburgh the US region with the biggest footprint of Kazakh investment in the US? There has to be a way to play that up. A friend from college long ago spent some time teaching English in Kazakhstan and it wound up leading to a highly lucrative career as an investment banker in Wall Street because of his knowledge of the region. It certainly is a place with a lot going on.

Kazakhstan clearly is in a different circumstance than most of the oil producers reaping the petrodollar tsunami, but the fact that even Kazakhstan is looking for places to park that cash is a big deal. It leads to the question of where the bulk of petrodollars being amassed will wind up. In recent years, there was a clear impact on US treasuries, but that can only go so far. The Economist magazine this weeks throws out a number that the petrodollars amassed by the worlds oil producers amounts to 1,500 billion euros. alas I digress....

How about this question: Is there an honorary Kazakh counsel in town? I may have to nominate my colleague Stu who was invited there last year to speak on the emergence of E-Government. I'd volunteer myself.. I remember a few workds of my college Russian, but I suspect it wouldn't work. but maybe we ought to be seeking out another sister city over there?


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