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Friday, August 21 – Qatar’s QTerminals signed the concession for the Olvia port

Qatar’s QTerminals Signs Concession to Run Ukrainian Port…Ukraine Pivots to Asia…Banking Changes…Naftogaz in Egypt….Kharkiv Tries Poaching IT Talent…Agriculture and Employment down...
James Brooke
by James Brooke
UBN Morning News is reported and written by James Brooke, a former New York Times foreign correspondent and Bloomberg Moscow Bureau Chief

Qatar’s QTerminals yesterday signed the concession agreement for the Olvia port in Mykolaiv region, reports Interfax Ukraine. Infrastructure Minister Vladislav Krykliy announced: “QTerminals is to invest about [$124 million] in the development of Olvia port and preserve jobs.  The $3 million annual concession payment will be 16 times the port’s profit last year. .” QTerminals operates Hamad, the largest commercial port of Qatar, valued at $7 billion.

“The successful signing of pilot concessions for the ports of Olvia and Kherson proved that the public-private partnership model can effectively attract private investment in Ukrainian infrastructure,” commented IFC Ukraine chief Jason Pellmar. “Both projects will serve as models for future concessions in various sectors of the Ukrainian economy. This work is fully consistent with our key mission – improve the competitiveness of Ukraine and accelerate its economic growth.”

China strengthens its position as Ukraine’s top trading partner, with $6.6 billion in bilateral trade in the first half of 2020, according to the State Statistics Service. For perspective, bilateral trade between Ukraine and the United States amounted to just $382 million during the same period. China, Russia and Poland are Ukraine’s main export destinations. Ukraine’s top sources of imports are China, Germany and Russia.

Ukraine’s exports to South Korea grew by 89% to $252 million in the first half of 2020, reports the State Statistics Service.

The Cabinet of Ministers canceled a 1992 agreement with the Russia regarding mutual trade representatives, according to the government. “To stop the agreement between the government of Ukraine and the government of the Russian Federation on the mutual establishment of trade missions, concluded in Moscow on October 22, 1992,” the website says.

Ukraine’s central bank has established “flexible” guidelines for the restructuring of debt assumed by green energy producers. The National Bank of Ukraine website writes: “The NBU has provided for a possibility for the banks to apply restructuring instruments irrespective of the status of the borrower’s existing leverage.” Kyrylo Shevchenko, the new central bank governor, previously ran UkrGasBank, the nation’s largest lender to solar and wind projects.

The central bank simplifies the banking charter process. The NBU website: “The regulator has reduced the number of documents that must be submitted by banks for approval by managers. Now the process of preparing the appropriate package of documents will be easier and will save time that banks spend on the approval of managers.”

Monetary policy targets an annual inflation rate of 5%, reports Ukrinform, citing the NBU.

Oschadbank plans to auction off non-performing loan portfolios starting in autumn 2020, reports Interfax Ukraine. In the first half of this year this state bank wrote off $800 million in non performing loans. This reduced the non-performing loans in its credit portolio from 55% of total assets at the start of the year, to 48% today.  The bank’s NPL targest are: 37% in 2021; 11% in 2022; 7% in 2023.

in collaboration with CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang Ukraine and UBN,  we have created the "Investing and Doing Business in Ukraine 2020 guide”.

Naftogaz will develop its assets in Egypt instead of selling them, reports the company’s press service. Last December, , the state company  announced plans to sell off two oil and gas fields near  Alam El Shawish to raise  $100 million. Naftogaz Chief Andrei Kobolyev said the SBU opposed the deal.  Sergiy Pereloma, first deputy head of Naftogaz “The Management Board and Supervisory Board of Naftogaz have set a clear task for us – the development of assets in Egypt.”

NV magazine publishes its top 100 “most influential” people in Ukraine. The top 5 in chronological order are: President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, tycoon Rinat Akhmetov, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, Presidential Head Andriy Yermak, pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk.

Kharkiv tries to poach IT specialists from Belarus by offering relocation perks, reports Interfax-Ukraine. “Kharkiv IT-community sincerely empathizes with Belarussian colleagues who are forced to be in unstable conditions and psychological pressure. Kharkiv IT-Cluster understands that in such conditions it is difficult not only for IT-business to maintain stability, but also to live and work,” the  organization said.

Epicenter K, a local home improvement chain, is introducing a new browsing format for shoppers. “It is sometimes difficult for a buyer to imagine a complete picture of the future interior according to a single sample, therefore we present expositions in the Ceramics Center “in almost the same way as at international exhibitions,” said Julia Korsun, head of the Ceramic Tile department at Epicenter K.

Unemployment is up 67% y-o-y since the beginning of quarantine measures, reports UNIAN citing the State Employment Service. Between March and August 2020, about 432,000 more Ukrainians were officially registered as unemployed. Given the large size of Ukraine’s shadow economy, the real number is likely to be higher.

Agricultural production in the first half of 2020 dipped 11.2% y-o-y, according to the State Statistics Service. Production by industrial scale-enterprises was down by 15.3% while small-scale producers by 4.2%.

The World Bank praised Ukraine’s coronavirus response, says Deputy Health Minister Svitlana Shatalova. “On August 17, during a meeting between Health Minister Maksym Stepanov and World Bank Country Director for Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine Arup Banerji, the World Bank highly appreciated the work of the Health Ministry of Ukraine in the very difficult conditions of the pandemic and in the conditions of extremely tight deadlines,” Shatalova said.

From the Editor: Please forward UBN news to  your friends and co-workers. You can read the news in 5 languages: RUSSIAN, UKRAINIAN, ENGLISH, GERMAN and FRENCH at www.ubn.news. Dear readers enjoy your long weekend. With Best Regards, Jim Brooke