China’s Skyrizon, and Kharkiv’s DCH Group will submit an updated application to the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine for the purchase of Motor Sich, the Zaporizhia-based aircraft engine maker, Interfax-Ukraine reports. It cites a notice sent to the Shanghai Stock Exchange by Beijing Xinwei Technology Group, parent company of Skyrizon. Interfax reports that Chinese accumulated 75% of Motor Sich shares before Ukraine’s State Security Service intervened to stop the sale. Skyrizon threatens to sue Ukraine, demanding compensation for $3.5 billion in
Concorde Capital’s Alexander Paraschiy writes: “The stakes are rising for Ukraine in the Motor Sich story. If this case shifts to a geopolitical battle between China and the U.S., Ukraine will have to choose between the two sides, which could lead to significant losses for the country. But what it can lose for sure is Motor Sich itself.”
Kyiv registered a record 310 new coronavirus infections yesterday, announced Mayor Klitschko. To publicize the problem, he was later filmed visiting a Covid treatment hospital in the capital. Of the 310 new cases, 43 are hospitalized. The rest are undergoing medical treatment at home. Separately, the Ukrainian Armed Forces confirmed 68 new coronavirus cases yesterday. Currently 534 soldiers are in isolation after testing positive for the virus.
European airlines are testing the waters with announcements of expanded schedules to Ukraine. Starting Oct. 25, Air France will fly between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Kyiv Boryspil three times a week. Starting Oct. 27, Ryanair will fly daily between Kyiv Boryspil and Berlin Schönefeld. Last week, Poland’s LOT increased the frequency of its flights between Lviv and Warsaw-Chopin, from daily to 12 times a week.
Signs indicate that Ukraine’s economy is climbing out of the corona-recession:
Rail freight volumes were up 10.3% last month over the level of August 2019. Ukrzaliznytsia moved 28.3 million tons of cargo last month, reports RAIL.insider, drawing on statistics from the portal Data.gov.ua. August was the fourth month of rail cargo growth and the first month that cargo levels surpassed those of one year earlier. The state railroad moves the bulk of the nation’s exports and cargo subsidizes passenger service. Since January, UZ has carried almost 200 million tons of cargo.
Electricity consumption in August 2020 returned last year’s level, reports Ukrenergo, the state-owned power grid operator. Compared to August 2019, household power consumption was up last month by 5.7%. Industry was down 2.9%. Within the industrial grouping, downturns in consumption were: machine-building industry -12%; metallurgy -6%; and fuel -3%. At the same time, electricity consumption grew by an average of 5% in food processing, chemicals and petrochemicals, and building materials.
Deflation, a sign of collapsed consumer demand, fell to -0.2% in August, the State Statistics service reported yesterday. In annual terms, inflation in August 2020 was 2.5%. With buying power returning, inflation is expected to grow gradually in coming months.
The ICU investment group has improved its forecast for Ukraine’s GDP this year, lowering its estimate of the fall to minus 5.7%, from its earlier forecast of minus 6.7%. This year’s drop will be cancelled out by next year’s growth of 5.6, Sergiy Nikolaychuk, the head of ICU’s macroeconomic research tells Interfax-Ukraine. He said the softening of this year’s fall “was facilitated by the rapid ‘turn on’ of the economy in the summer, and by the improvement of the terms
Iron ore exports were up 13% through August, compared to the tonnage for the first eight months of last year, reports the State Customs Service. Companies exported 31 million tons, earning $2.5 billion. The top three importers of Ukrainian iron ore are: China – 34%; Poland – 12%; and the Czech Republic – 10%.
By the end of this year, the government plans to privatize: Kyiv’s President Hotel, the Odessa Port Plant, the Electrotyazhmash plant, the Krasnolimanskaya Coal company and the United Mining and Chemical Company. Yesterday, the Cabinet of Ministers approved this list. A Rada vote will be needed to lift the freeze on privatisations, approved last spring, at the start of the coronavirus quarantine, Svetlana Panaiotidi, deputy economy minister, wrote on Facebook.
Capital investment in Ukraine’s economy shrank by 35% in the first half of the year, compared to January-June 2019, according to the State Statistics Service. The new level of investment was $5.9 billion. All sectors recorded declines, with the biggest in: art, sports, entertainment and recreation – 74%; hotels and restaurants – 58%; and transportation – 54.5%.
Justifying Ukraine’s recent stealth re-purchase of 10% of its $3.2 billion in GDP-linked warrants, Finance Minister Sergiy Marchenko confirmed that the 2015 warrants are a financial time bomb that could cost the nation up to $22 billion by 2040. With current GDP growth forecasts, Ukraine will have to make its first pay out – $40 million – next year. By 2023, payments could balloon to $600 million. Speaking to the Rada Committee on Finance, Tax and Customs Policy, he justified
Timothy Ash writes from London: “[I am] not sure it’s a great idea to go out saying payments on these instruments could be $22 billion through 2040. That’s just going to bid up their price and increase buy back costs.”
Ukraine’s Supreme Court has frozen a lower court decision that would have forced state-owned PrivatBank to pay $350 million to Ihor and Hryhoriy Surkis, two brothers seen as ‘related parties’ to the owners who looted the bank until its nationalization in 2016. Last week, a lower court ruled the brothers’ six British companies can start withdrawing the first portion of the $350 million. That ruling drew widespread condemnation and seemed to raise a red flag to continued cooperation with the IMF.
Concorde Capital’s Alexander Paraschiy writes: “A solid reaction from the government to an apparently ill-grounded court ruling that costs about UAH 10 billion [$360 million] to the state bank is a good signal. Such a reaction significantly decreases the chances that the Surkises will be able to withdraw money from the bank, though it does not completely rule out such an event.”
President Zelenskiy promised yesterday to rebuild the runway of Sumy airport, if the regional government finds an investor to rebuild the terminal. “We are ready to build this strip in Sumy,if you have those who will build the terminal in parallel,” he told Roman Grishchenko, head of the regional administration, on a visit to the airport. Two years ago, the Infrastructure Ministry estimated that it would cost €25 million to rebuild the Soviet-era terminal and the 2,500-meter runway. Without scheduled
Zakarpattia will get an international standard airport with the construction in coming years of a $145 million airport in Mukachevo, Infrastructure Minister Vladyslav Krikliy promises on Facebook. Last month, the Cabinet of Minister approved spending $1 million to design an airport on the site of an abandoned Soviet-era air base south of the city. Under the plan, a private investor would build the terminal. The Infrastructure Ministry would build a 2,500-meter long runway, capable of handling B737 and A320 passenger
Zhytomyr regional authorities are talking with a private investor to build an air cargo hub at Zhytomyr airport, a 90-minute drive west of the Kyiv’s Ring Road. Vitaly Bunechko, head of the regional government, tells Interfax-Ukraine that the airport first needs $13 million in government aid to expand the runway by 50%, to 2,500 meters. Opened in 1939, the airport provides maintenance for Yanair’s all-Boeing fleet of 737s and offers easy access to Sergei Pavlovich Korolyov Museum of Cosmonautics.
Corona virus infections, hospitalizations and deaths are running at double the levels of one month ago, Ukraine Health Ministry figures show. On Monday morning, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov announced that 57 people died in the last 24 hours. At the same time, 2,411 new cases were announced, and almost 8,000 people are undergoing treatment in Ukrainian hospitals.
Ukraine may place $1-1.5 billion worth Eurobonds this fall to cover the budget deficit and to buy back more GDP warrants, predicts Bank of America Securities. This would follow July’s successful placement of $2 billion worth of 13-year Eurobonds. That deal, at 7.25%, was three times oversubscribed. Potentially chilling foreign interest, the IMF’s planned September review of the $5 billion Standby Agreement with Ukraine may be delayed, BofA warns.
Facing weak investor demand, the Finance Ministry sold on Tuesday only one third the volume of hryvnia bonds as at last week’s auction, and at slightly higher yields. In yesterday’s auction, the government sold the hryvnia equivalent of $35 million, one third for 1-year bonds and two thirds for 3-year bonds, the Ministry reported on Facebook. The weighted average yield for 1-year bonds was 9.28%, virtually unchanged. For 3-year securities, the yield was 10.46% – 46 basis points above the
Fitch, the ratings agency that most closely follows Ukraine, reaffirmed its ‘B’ rating for Ukraine last Friday, with a stable outlook. Japan’s R&I upgraded Ukraine’s sovereign rating last week by one notch, from B to B+, outlook stable. Since March, Standard & Poor’s has given Ukraine a B stable rating. In June, Moody’s brought Ukraine up one notch to B3 stable.
Concorde Capital’s Alexander Paraschiy writes: Looking at the balance of possible positive and negative triggers for Ukraine’s rating, we see a low chance for Ukraine to get any better rating in the next year.
A new Eurobond placement would come on the heels of two large deals:
Ukraine’s international reserves grew to $29 billion in August, the highest level in eight years, reports the National Bank of Ukraine. Boosting reserves, foreign travel by Ukrainians was down sharply due to the coronavirus restrictions and the nation enjoyed a trade surplus.
Ukraine is on track with the IMF, Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko said Monday on Inter TV’s Details of the Week program. He said: “We are in a dialogue with the IMF, and hope to receive the next tranche. We have two more tranches planned by the end of the year for $700 million each, and in the near future there will be an online conference, that is, it will not be a visit, it will be an online mission of
Timothy Ash retorts from London: “The danger with this official line that things are fine on the IMF front is that politicians are lulled into a false sense of security, when the reality is that this Fund program is in serious trouble. Someone needs to read the riot act to the Zelenskiy Administration that unless they address the mounting list of issues related to the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, the anti-corruption agenda more generally, independent supervisory boards at state companies, PrivatBank
Domestic air flights were down the least of air travel in August, down only 17% yoy to 2,519, reports UkSATSE, Ukraine’s air traffic control agency. By contrast – international flights to and from Ukraine were down 50%, to 8,249, and transit flights through Ukraine’s air space were down 68%, to 5,922. After last spring’s collapse, air flights in Ukraine have steadily recovered: 2,372 flights in April; 3,237 in May; 4,584 in June; 12,195 in July; and 16,690 in August. Flights
By 2023, several key regional airports will be reopened under the ‘Big Construction’ program, President Zelenskiy promised last week on a visit to Poltava airport. “We will add all airports to the program,” he said, referring to second tier airports that have languished since the 1990s. Promising to start rebuilding Poltava’s runway next year, he said: “We will definitely make Poltava Airport part of our ‘Big Construction’ program.”
Poisoned Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny has improved, doctors treating him in Berlin say. He is out of a medically-induced coma, is being weaned off a ventilator, and “is responding to verbal stimuli,” the doctors say at Charité, the Berlin hospital where he is being treated. Germany’s government has asked Russia’s government to explain why Navalny was poisoned with a military grade poison. Reaffirmed yesterday, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s position is that Kremlin noncompliance with an investigation could force Germany to
Germany May Not Even Need the Nord Stream Pipeline Right Now, headlines a Bloomberg analysis from Berlin. “Europe is flooded with gas and demand is likely to remain stable,” reads the energy market analysis. “With storage sites in Europe almost full, the European benchmark contract has more than halved since its peak in 2018.” With the rise of wind and solar and increasing energy efficiencies, Europe’s gas demand is to remain flat for the next five years, predicts the International
“Has Vladimir Putin Poisoned His Pet Pipeline Project?” Diane Francis, an opponent of the gas line, asks in an Atlantic Council Ukraine blog.
Ukraine’s natural gas imports jumped 67% yoy in August, as EU gas traders filled Ukraine’s gas storage reservoirs to a record 84% of capacity. Traders store their gas in Ukraine, waiting for the traditional autumn rise in prices as Europe prepares for winter. For its own use, Ukraine’s Naftogaz had 26 billion cubic meters in storage on Saturday, 39% more than one year earlier.
Mikheil Saakashvili was chosen yesterday to lead an 11-party opposition coalition in Georgia’s Oct. 31 parliamentary elections. If the coalition wins, the former Georgian president would become prime minister. If the coalition loses, Saakashvili presumably would return to his Kyiv job: chairman of Ukraine’s National Reform Council. Levan Varshalomidze, former governor of Batumi and a longtime ally of Saakashvili, also took a sabbatical last week from his Ukraine job, board chairman of UkraineInvest.
Traffic at Boryspil was down 60% yoy in August, to 656,029 passengers, reports the Center for Transportation Strategies. Traffic on charter flights was down by only 9%, indicating that Kyiv residents cling to their package tours to Egypt and Turkey. By contrast, traffic on regular flights – largely to the EU and North America – was down by 78%. Traffic is expected to be even worse in September because the government has closed Ukraine to most foreign visitors for the
A Chinese state company is discussing building a massive Black Sea grain terminal that could handle 5 million tons a year, the equivalent of 10% of Ukraine’s corn and wheat exports. Yesterday, representatives of China Road Construction Corporation International Investment met with executives of Pivdennyi port, Ukraine’s deepest and busiest port. The project would represent a big expansion for Pivdennyi, located 45 km east of Odesa. Last month, iron ore accounted for 86% of the 1.5 million tons of cargo
Chinese container trains now arrive at Kyiv at the pace of one a week, reports Ukrzaliznytsia. Traveling 9,000 km from Nanchang in 15 days, the latest train arrived Saturday at Kyiv’s left bank Liski freight depot. Its 41 containers carried mineral fertilizers, lamps, bulbs, medical cargo and chemical components for filtering water. With three more container trains due to arrive this month, Ukrzaliznytsia is booking return freight of Ukrainian goods for China.
Ukraine seeks Chinese investment in industrial parks specializing in processing, storing and transshipping food, Olga Stefanishyna, deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, yesterday told China’s new ambassador to Ukraine, Fan Xianrong. Ukraine wants to increase food exports to China, and to use Chinese free ports to export to Pacific Basin countries, she said, reports the Cabinet of Ministers website. “To intensify cooperation,” her Ministry is establishing a working group with the Chinese embassy.
Through August, Ukraine’s seaports handled 5% more cargo than during the same period last year, reports the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority. The 106 million tons of cargo breaks down as follows : exports +5.4%, to 81 million tons; imports +1%, to 16 million tons; transit +4.6%, to 7.3 million tons; cabotage +31%, to 1.6 million tons. The two main export product were nearly even: grain – 30.7 million tons; and metal ore – 30.2 million tons. Pig iron exports jumped
Ukraine’s top five ports handled 91.5% of the nation’s cargo during the first eight months of this year, reports the Sea Ports Authority. Pivdennyi once again was the most dynamic, with its cargo levels growing by 25% yoy, to handle 42 million tons, or 40% of the nation’s total. This growth was at the expense of Ukraine’s next three busiest ports: Mykolaiv -10%, to 19.2 million tons; Odesa -7%, to 15.6 million tons; and Chornomorsk -1%, to 15.4 million tons.
Ukraine’s exports are recovering from last spring’s corona-recession. August exports were down only 1.6% yoy, “which in the context of a pandemic sounds like fantasy,” Taras Kachka, deputy minister of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture, writes on Facebook. “International trade is recovering at a much faster pace than after the 2008 crisis.” For the first eight months of the year, exports are down 6.6%, to $31 billion. With imports down by 12.4%, the trade deficit through August is $1.3 billion,
Ukraine exports of corn, wheat, and barley will drop around 9% yoy, to 51 million tons, in the current marketing season, predicts Grainmart, India’s first Grain Trading B2B online marketplace. Based near New Delhi, Grainmart draws on figures from the Ukrainian Grain Association.
Two years after Saudi investors bought Ukraine’s troubled Mriya Agro Holding, a shipment of 60,000 tons of Ukrainian wheat is on its way to Saudi Arabia. In the first such shipment to Saudi Arabia in 12 years, a Panamax carrying Ukrainian grain from Chornomorsk arrives Sept. 17. In 2018, Saudi Agricultural Investment and Livestock Company, or Salic, bought Mriya and merged it with its existing Ukraine farms under an umbrella company, Ukrainian Continental Farmers Group. Georg von Nolcken, general director
The Cabinet of Ministers has approved a strategy for steadily reducing the state share in Ukrainian banking, from 60% today, to below 25% in 2025. By the end of next year, all four state banks are to draw up road maps for the sale of public shares.
The Finance Ministry reported that Ukraine’s state-owned banks wrote off $1 billion worth of non-performing loans at the expense of reserves during the first half of this year. For state banks, non-performing loans account for 63% of their loan portfolios. As of July 1, there are 57,000 outstanding claims by state banks in courts to reclaim $1.4 billion in assets.
Almost overlooked in the furor of the Surkis case, Ukraine’s central bank met expectations yesterday and kept the prime lending rate at 6%. Dmitry Sologub, a deputy governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, predicted to reporters yesterday: “We expect the interest rate to remain at 6% by the end of the year.” Two months ago, when President Zelenskiy installed his candidate, Kyrylo Shevchenko, a central bank governor, many analysts thought the shakeup was made to lower interest rates this
Political pressure is mounting on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to freeze or drop the Russia-Germany Nord Stream II pipeline project, according to Bloomberg and The Financial Times reports from Berlin. The game changer was a report by a German military laboratory Tuesday that said Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was poisoned Aug. 20 by Novichok, the same restricted use, military-grade nerve agent used by Russian agents in Britain in 2018.
Now, Tim Ash and others are having second thoughts. He writes from London: “The reality is dawning that pressure to make management changes at the NBU was never really about monetary and exchange rate policy, but rather the durability of banking reform. The real battleground remains Privatbank. I think we got another hard lesson in that last night with the Surkis ruling.”
At stake is a $9.5 billion, 1,222 km, trans-Baltic pipeline designed to take gas directly from Russia to Germany. Capable of carrying 55 billion cubic meters of gas a year, this is designed to end Russia’s dependence on Ukraine’s Gas Transportation System. From 2021 to 2024, Gazprom is contracted send 40 bcm year through Ukraine, earning Ukraine about $1.5 billion a year.
The central bank “expects an IMF [review] mission in the near future and plans to receive more money from the IMF by the end of the year,” Shevchenko, the Bank Governor told reporters yesterday. Ash reacted: “Very optimistic in my view given backtracking on banking reform and anti-corruption agenda. I cannot see an IMF mission before local elections in October.”
With Navalny lying in an induced coma in Berlin’s Charité Hospital, a 10-minute walk from the Bundestag, the mood inside Germany’s parliament building has turned sharply against the Kremlin.
The Finance Ministry sold the Hryvnia equivalent of $102 million in bonds at this week’s auction – three times the borrowings of last week. The only bill that sold – a 13-month bond – went with a weighted average interest rate of 9.29%.
“The EU should jointly decide to stop Nord Stream,” tweeted Norbert Roettgen, Head of the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee and a candidate to head Merkel’s Christian Democratic party. “The only language that Putin understands is the language of natural gas.”
UIA is scheduling a direct Kyiv Boryspil – New York JFK – Kyiv Boryspil flight next Wednesday. With a one-way fare of $482, the Boeing leaves Kyiv at noon on Sept. 9. After a 2-hour turnaround in New York, the plane takes off again for Ukraine, leaving at 5:45 pm New York time. Tickets can only be bought through the UIA site.
Nils Schmid, foreign policy spokesman for the SPD, a junior partner in the Merkel coalition, said: “We need to make it clear that all talk of a strategic partnership with Russia is now over.”
Three months after the end of Kyiv’s full corona lockdown, daily metro ridership is about one million, down by one third from the pre-lockdown volume 1.5 million. Normally, the Kyiv’s subway system earns $10 million a month. Due to the spring lockdown and today’s week ridership, the Metro may run out of money to pay salaries next month, the transit system reports in an appeal to the Kyiv City Council for more money.
Christian Lindner, leader of the liberal FDP party, said: “A regime that organizes murders by poisoning is no partner for big cooperative projects — and that includes pipeline projects.”
Katrin Göring-Eckardt, leader of the Greens in parliament, said: “Nord Stream 2 is no longer something we, together with Russia, can press ahead with.”
While Germans wait for Merkel’s move, Bild, Germany’s best-selling newspaper, calls on the Chancellor to “stop Putin’s pipeline.”
In Ukraine, Germany’s Ambassador Anka Feldhusen joined her G-7 counterparts yesterday to lobby Prime Minister Shmygal to defend PrivatBank against attempts to reverse the 2016 nationalization of the Ukraine’s largest bank. With EU and IMF support, $5.5 billion was injected into the bank in 2017, filling a hole left by what forensic auditors have called an orgy of insider lending and theft.
On Tuesday, a Kyiv court ruled that PrivatBank should pay $350 million – principal and interest – for deposits of six British companies owned by Ihor and Hryhoriy Surkis, two brothers who were business associates of PrivatBank’s former owners, Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholyubov. PrivatBank lawyers said yesterday they will appeal, arguing that the brothers were related parties to the mismanagement of the bank. The Surkis and other depositors have filed hundreds of lawsuits suing for $1.2 billion.
We will challenge this decision,” Petr Krumphanzl, a Czech banker who is Board Chairman of PrivatBank, told Ukrinform. We will continue to seek justice for PrivatBank and Ukrainian taxpayers who are the bank’s ultimate shareholders.”
“One of the biggest transgressions in the history of the judicial power of Ukraine took place today,” Justice Minister Denis Malyuska wrote on Facebook. Noting that the judge’s name Vovk, also means ‘wolf’, he illustrated his complaint with a cartoon of a gray wolf happily carrying away a big bag of loot.
Alexander Danilyuk, Finance Minister at the time of the nationalization, warned on Facebook yesterday: “This is the beginning of the collapse of the results of the nationalization of PrivatBank.” He warned that if the lawsuits are not stopped, they could cost Ukraine’s government billions of dollars.
Next year the government plans to channel “Big Construction” spending into “the creation of irrigation systems in the southern regions of Ukraine,” Prime Minister Shmygal told the Cabinet yesterday. “Such systems should increase yields and protect farmers from adverse weather conditions.” With temperatures rising in southern Ukraine, President Zelenskiy has called for rebuilding Soviet-era irrigation systems and creating new ones. The government estimates the drought cost Odesa farmers $235 million in lost crop receipts.
Starting this month, up to €120 million in loan money for rural infrastructure, including irrigation, is available for small and medium farmers in southern Kherson region. The money is part of a larger, €400 million rural lending facility extended to the area by the European Investment Bank, reports Stefan Rosenow, team leader for the project. Separately, the EBRD is working with the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources to modernize irrigation systems of the lower Dniester in Odesa region.
Today, the National Bank of Ukraine is likely to keep the prime interest rate at the current level of 6%, indicate separate polls of economists and bankers by Reuters and Interfax Ukraine. With a 5.9% increase in the minimum wage approved Tuesday by the Rada, analysts predict annual inflation will double, to 4.9% in December. Many forecasts “point to a significant acceleration of inflation over the horizon of 6-9 months,” Oleksiy Blinov of Alfa-Bank Ukraine tells Reuters. “This indicates a
Signaling the end of an era, the volume of Russian gas crossing Ukraine on the Soviet-era pipeline system is down 42% compared to the same January-August period last year. Under the Dec. 30 contract, Russia’s Gazprom committed to shipping 65 billion cubic meters across Ukraine, down from the 2019 level of 89.6 bcm. Gazprom is paying full freight, but it is only shipping 80% of booked capacity. Under the contract, Gazprom will ship even less starting next year — 40
The biggest drops this year are on Ukraine’s southern route to Moldova and Romania. On this ‘trans-Balkan route,’ gas shipments are down 73%, to 2.3 bcm for the first eight months. The game changer was the Jan. 8 opening of Turkish Stream. This line brings Russian gas up from the south, skirting Ukraine.
As Europe’s pipelines become increasingly inter-connected, ERU Trading, an American company, sent a test gas shipment in July from Revithoussa, Greece’s LNG terminal, on the Aegean Sea, through Romania to Ukraine. Hailing the possibilities of “the new gas transmission corridor Greece-Romania-Ukraine,” Yaroslav Mudryy, managing partner of ERU Trading, said: “Traditionally, gas and oil are exported from the East to the West, but our partners are interested in a new, unconventional approach.”
As part of this newly liberalized market, 72 traders – a mix of European and Ukrainian companies – parked a total of 8.2 bcm of gas in Ukrainian reservoirs this summer, waiting for the annual rise in prices in the fall. With 65% of gas coming into western Ukraine this summer going into storage for further transit, Serhiy Makogon, general director of Ukraine’s Gas Transit System Operator, said: “This means that Ukraine is geopolitically and economically an interesting and profitable
Well prepared for the winter heating season, Naftogaz has stored 25.6 bcm of its own gas, 39% more than this time last year. By the Nov. 1 start of the heating season, Naftogaz may have a record 28 bcm in storage, 29% more than last year, Nafotgaz CEO Andriy Kobolev said Tuesday on Ukraina 24 TV. In last winter’s 4-month heating season, Ukraine consumed only 6 bcm.
President Zelenskiy has called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to congratulate him on the discovery of a large natural gas field in Turkish waters off the Black Sea coast. Erdogan estimates the field at 320 bcm. This is the equivalent of 10 years of Turkey’s gas imports and 30 years of Ukraine’s imports. After the Turkish drilling ship, Fatih, made the discovery last month, Erdogan promised to start developing the field immediately.
Turkey and Ukraine are creating “a strategic alliance” for defense production, Oleh Urusky, Ukraine’s Strategic Industries Minister, tells Ukrinform. In late August, Urusky led a group that toured Turkish defense factories, met with defense industry leaders and met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “We are actively moving towards a strategic alliance — aircraft construction, armor production, missile construction, electronic warfare, instrument making (opto-electronics) and engine building,” Urusky told Ukraine’s state-owned news agency. One project could be joint development of
Glencore, the agricultural commodities giant, has bought Everi, one of Ukraine’s largest vegetable oil export terminals. Built a decade ago in Mykolaiv, Everi was expanded in 2018 to have tanks capable of holding 160,000 tons and a pumping capacity of 1.5 million tons of oil into seagoing ships for export. From the Netherlands, Glencore Agriculture Limited CEO David Mattiske said of the purchase from Orexim: “This acquisition reinforces our long term commitment to the agriculture sector in Ukraine.”
Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority is the biggest shareholder in Glencore. Two weeks ago, QTerminals, Qatar’s multinational port operator, signed a concession agreement to run Mykolaiv’s Olvia port, 15 km down river from the Everi terminal. Qatar Investment Authority is not a shareholder in QTerminals.
Dry weather and drought, especially in southern Ukraine, will cut this year’s grain harvest by 7 million tons, or 9% below last year’s bumper harvest of 75 million tons, Prime Minister Shmygal told the Cabinet yesterday. The ongoing corn harvest is coming in 1 million tons short. With corn expected to fall to 35 million tons, the Ukrainian Grain Association forecasts the nation’s total grain and oilseeds harvest will be 95.6 million tons, the second largest in Ukraine’s history. Exports
Concorde Capital’s Alexander Paraschiy writes Monday: “It looks like there is a high chance for Sytnyk to remain at his position till the end of his seven-year term, which expires in spring 2022.”
The Constitutional Court acted in response to a petition by 51 MPs, many of the same pro-Kremlin or pro-Kolomoiskiy Rada members, who successfully asked the Court to open five proceedings aimed at Ukrainian anti-corruption legislation, Tetiana Shevchuk, legal counsel at Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Action Center, writes in a new Atlantic Council essay: “Pro-Kremlin MPs and Oligarchs Wage Lawfare on Ukraine’s Reform Agenda.” She writes of the Court decision on NABU’d director: “Anti-corruption activists fear the decision could now pave the way
Bonanza for TV stations and billboard owners: The Central Election Commission announces that campaigns for mayors and city councils officially start this Saturday. With the coronavirus pandemic ruling out large gatherings, advertising is expected to play a central role in campaigning leading up the Oct. 25 vote.
Former Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk joins the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center as a distinguished fellow, the Washington-based organization tweets. The youngest prime minister in Ukraine’s history, Honcharuk, then aged 35, led the government during the first six months of President Zelenskiy’s five-year term. Zelenskiy dropped Honcharuk on March 4 as part of a wider purge of the cabinet.
Kurt Volker, who served until last September as the State Department’s Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, joined BGS Rail yesterday as an independent board member of the Kyiv-based car leasing company. Volker also will advise the chairman and board of directors of BGS’ parent company, Avia Solutions Group, a company of Lithuanian origins. In Ukraine, BGS, or Baltic Ground Services, has 3,000 wagons for transporting coal, iron ore and grain. Volker said in an Avia press release: “By working with
Ryanair, Europe’s largest low cost carrier, has canceled almost all its flights to Ukraine for the second half of September, the airline’s booking system shows, reports Evropeiska Pravda. With 52 routes from Ukraine to EU cities, Ryanair is moving preemptively ahead of EU regulations that require full repayment for tickets for flight cancelled within two weeks of travel dates. Ryanair’s booking system shows only a handful of flights between Kyiv Boryspil and Cyprus, Spain and the UK. There are no
UIA, Ukraine’s largest carrier, has cancelled or reduced frequencies for a long list of flights. Signaling that it believes that the ban on most foreign visitors will last until the Oct. 25 local elections, UIA is cutting its flight program through Oct. 24. Compared to the planned schedule, UIA seem to cut about half of its seats in and out of Ukraine this fall.
Kyiv hotel owners and tour guides protested last Friday outside the Cabinet of Ministers saying the new one-month ban on most foreigners entering Ukraine is a heavy blow to tourism, an industry which has struggled since the first Covid lockdown in mid-March. One Kyiv hotel owner told the UBN that he knows of three business groups that cancelled their trips to Ukraine this month. Inside the government building, a senior official said that legitimate business people arriving at Boryspil this
Prime Minister Shmygal expects that within one month Ukraine’s Covid-19 cases will be 50% higher than today. “Today we have from 2,000 to 2,500 new cases of the disease every day,” he told 1+1 television channel yesterday. “By the end of September and early October, this figure will rise to 3,000 patients every day. This will load hospitals by more than 80%.” Government officials are talking about test trials for a vaccine in November and mass vaccinations in March. It
Ducking the issue: Ukraine’s Antimonopoly Committee has declined to consider an application by Kharkiv’s DCH Group to purchase Motor Sich shares from China’s Skyrizon to run the Zaporizhia aircraft engine factory as a Chinese-Ukraine joint venture. The decision was made public yesterday, five days after US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo called President Zelenskiy and warned about “malign” Chinese investment. DCH, which also makes tractors, complained that the Committee’s requested information “not related to the core business” of the jet
Concorde Capital’s Alexander Paraschiy writes: “The Antimonopoly Committee has been trying to avoid any decision on the Skyrizon / Motor Sich deal for about three years, and its latest move indicates it is trying to continue postponing the solution for as long as possible…such uncertainty might be harmful for Motor Sich’s future as a going concern.”
Kyiv’s Antonov is negotiating joint production with Turkey of its short range An-178 military cargo jets, reports Turkey’s Daily Sabah, a pro-government daily. Oleksandr Los, Antonov’s new CEO, visited Turkey last month for talks. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tells CNN Türk that both governments “want to start more daring projects. Projects where Turkish and Ukrainian technologies are used together. These will be competitive projects in the global sense.”
Turkey’s new import tariffs on 115 goods are spurring Turkey and Ukraine to restart talks for a Free Trade Agreement. The two economy ministers, Ruhsar Pekcan for Turkey, and Igor Petrashko, for Ukraine talked week. Taras Kachka, deputy economy minister, writes on Facebook that he will travel to Ankara in coming days to advance talks. Two weeks ago, Turkey hiked tariffs by 15 to 20% for the goods that are non-EU.
In a key anti-corruption case watched by the IMF, Artem Sytnyk insists he is still director of the National Anticorruption Bureau, NABU. Last Thursday, days after NABU released audio recordings where judges appeared to discuss corruption plots involving including rulings Constitutional Court rulings, the Court ruled that President Poroshenko violated the Constitution five years ago, when he appointed Sytnyk as NABU director. Although President Zelenskiy now calls Sytnyk ‘acting director,’ legal experts say Sytnyk can only be removed by a Rada
In coming weeks, the Kharkiv Metro is to sign a contract with China’s CRRC Tangshan for 40 new rail cars, a 13% percent increase in the fleet of Ukraine’s second largest subway system. With the new cars, the Metro will have eight one-piece ‘tube trains,’ without partitions between the five cars, reports the Center for Transportation Strategies.
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo warned President Zelenskiy about “malign” Chinese investment in Ukraine, including Beijing’s efforts to acquire the Motor Sich aircraft engine maker. The warning came in a telephone call Wednesday with President Zelenskiy, State spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement. For a year, the US has sought to block a Chinese takeover of the jet engine maker. After US investors failed to materialize, Kharkiv business man Alexander Yaroslavky filed an application in early August to buy
Ukraine has frozen diplomatic contacts with Belarus and joined the EU in condemning the recent presidential election as not free or fair, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told reporters Friday, Reuters reports. “We put all contacts on pause until the situation in Belarus stabilizes,” Kuleba said. He noted that Ukraine had earlier recalled its ambassador to Belarus for negotiations. Belarus is Ukraine’s fourth largest trading partner.
The EBA has moved from its longtime office in Kyiv’s Podil neighborhood to the new Creative State of Arsenal coworking center on Moskovska 8, building 7, a five-minute walk from the Arsenalna Metro station on the Red Line. After 15 years in a building that grew to have workplaces for 70 employees, the EBA says it has moved to a smaller workspace that features hot desking and “modern infrastructure for meetings and negotiations.” Executive Director Anna Derevyanka notes: “Mobility and
After opening the 4,100 square meter Creative State of Arsenal in May, Ilya Kenigstein, founder of the coworking space network, says work is starting this fall on a second 3,100 square meter phase. The two recycled brick buildings will be connected by a bridge and will share parking, an event hall, and open area with art installations. Added to existing spaces in Gulliver and Senator business centers, Creative States will have 15,000 square meters in Kyiv.
Large traffic jams are expected in Kyiv and Ukraine’s big cities tomorrow as schools reopen for Ukraine’s 3.8 million primary and secondary school children. In the first six months of the coronavirus pandemic, 7,743 Ukrainian children were infected. Mass transit ridership is down and more parents than normal are expected to drive their children to school. Kabanchik, an online platform for ordering services, reports that its requests for driving teachers almost doubled this in June and July, to 786. Olga