, a 40% increase over the river’s 2019 cargo level. In a first step, the parent agency, the Infrastructure Ministry, has endorsed the Danube Shipping’s plan to build 16 tugs and 31 barges for use on the Dnipro. The Ministry also promised to transfer to the company its river ports and terminals. Danube Shipping is in negotiations with the EBRD and other international financial institutions to secure low interest financing. By replacing trucks on the highways, river transportation bonds and
to 30 million tons a year, Infrastructure Minister Krikliy said at a recent meeting the European Business Association. The State Fund for Inland Waterways is modeled on the three-year-old Ukrainian State Road Fund, which draws on user fees to guarantee money for road repair and construction.
Fearing inflation, Ukraine’s central bank hikes the prime rate to 6.5% today, the first increase in two years. The hike ends a post-Independence low of 6%, which reigned since June.
“We are responding to inflation beyond the target range of 5%,” Kateryna Rozhkova, first deputy governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, wrote yesterday on Facebook. The bank predicts inflation will peak this summer at 8%.
More hikes could come this year, Yuriy Geletiy, a deputy governor of the central bank, told reporters yestrerday. “The National Bank is ready to raise the discount rate more decisively to limit the fundamental inflationary pressure and bring inflation to the target. Therefore, monetary policy will continue to focus on preventing the inflation spike.”
In the first two months of this year, foreign holdings of Ukraine government bonds increased by $570 million, Geletiy told reporters yesterday. As of Monday, foreign holdings totaled $3.65 billion. He said: “In February, non-resident investors continued to grow their portfolio, with a slowdown in the second half of February.”
Remittances from Ukrainians working abroad are expected to grow by 8%, to $13 billion this year, Geletiy said. For the last two years, remittance averaged $12 billion, or $1 billion a month. Labor is Ukraine’s third largest export, after food and metals.
Ukrainians relentlessly move away from cash, indicates a National Bank of Ukraine report for card and contactless payments. Last year, the number of transactions with payment cards jumped 25% yoy, to 5.2 million, with the volume increasing by 23%, to $79 billion.
With new coronavirus cases doubling this week, Prime Minister Shmygal warned yesterday: “It’s obvious that the third wave of the pandemic has started that Ukraine is facing.” Yesterday morning, 10,057 new cases were registered, more than double Monday’s level of 4,285. “If the situation worsens, if we see that medics are not coping, then we will probably have no choice but to impose strict quarantine like the one that we have already experienced.”
The new cases are largely in Kyiv and to the West: Zhytomyr Oblast – 888; Kyiv City – 868; Vinnytsia Oblast – 827; Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast – 776; and Zakarpattia – 676. Ukraine’s first two cases of the British coronavirus variant, were detected in Ivano-Frankivsk region, health officials said yesterday.
Ukraine plans to become a major producer of lithium batteries for Europe’s electric cars, Prime Minister Shmygal told reporters yesterday, reviewing talks he had in Brussels last month. By 2030, Europe will need 18 times more lithium than now, by 2050, 60 times more, he said. “Ukraine has the largest lithium deposits on the European continent,” he said. “Europe sees Ukraine as a partner, both in production and processing…We are interested in added value, production, processing, and the maximum creation of
Coal miners may become lithium miners under a pilot project to start closing two coal mines this year, one in Lviv and the other in Donetsk, the Prime Minister. With German and Polish advice and aid, Ukraine’s “Fair Transformation of Coal Regions” project could involve employing some coal miners to work in new lithium mines, he said.
Turkey and Ukraine are on the final stretch for finalize a bilateral free trade agreement, Shmygal told reporters. Of the long-delayed agreement, he said: “Literally, last week and this week the free trade agreement with Turkey is being finalized.”
Navigation will resume next week on the Dnipro River, two months after closing for ice, reports Port of Ukraine. All locks on the Dnipro cascade – from the Kyiv Sea to the Black Sea – are to re-open Wednesday.
In a new twist on the Motor Sich drama, David Arakhamia, the head of Servant of the People faction in the Rada, said yesterday he will submit a bill to nationalize the Zaporizhia-based aircraft engine manufacturer. On Jan. 29, President Zelenskiy barred Chinese investors from asserting control. “It is to settle the legal status of the company, that is a large constructor of helicopter engines,” Arakhamia said. “Because the company is facing uncertainty, it is being sanctioned upon, and several
Although last year’s Dnipro shipping season was six weeks longer than usual, cargo dropped 5% yoy, to 11 million tons. “Results of cargo transportation were influenced by the reduction in grain transportation on navigable rivers,” says Dmitry Kozachenko, executive director of the Rivers of Ukraine Association. Volumes on Ukraine’s portion of the Danube were down 28%, to 4 million tons. On the Southern Bug, volumes were down 37.5%, to 500,000 tons. The big products moved down Ukraine’s three largest navigable
With traffic jams clogging Kyiv’s Dnipro bridges, the City Council is studying restoring boat service across the river. According to Kiev Vlast, the River Port Administration calculates that 2,000 people a day would commute by ferry, following this route: Rusanivka, Bereznyaki, Dnipro Metro station, Podil River Port. Depending on the boat and the weather, the entire trip would take one hour. Tickets would cost UAH 30-60, $1-2.
In January-February, Ukrainians imported 53,000 used cars, 4.4 times the volume of the first two months of 2019. Used imports, a rarity four years ago, now account for 81% of car imports, reports Ukravtoprom, the vehicle industry association. In 2020, 353,400 used imports and 85,500 new imports were registered in Ukraine.
Ukraine ended the year with $29.1 billion in reserves, a 15% yoy increase, the National Bank of Ukraine reported yesterday. The highest level in eight years, today’s reserves are enough to cover five months of imports, an ample cushion over the three-month level seen as adequate.
Alfa-Bank Ukraine’s Oleksiy Blinov wrote: “This strong increase was delivered via massive FX debt placements by the Ministry of Finance. Overall, MinFin borrowed a net of $2.6 billion in December.”
In the first government bond auction of the new year, the Finance Ministry raised the equivalent of $308 million — 37% of the amount raised the week before. Choosing among four hryvnia bonds – 3-months, 1-year, 2-year and 3-years – 90% of buyers opted for 3 months at 10%. Yields were virtually unchanged from last week.
Concorde Capital’s Evgeniya Akhtyrko writes: “The drop in auction receipts after the record-high results of December is not surprising. Nonetheless, UAH 9 billion in receipts is quite a strong result for a ‘typical’ auction. The market’s skew towards bonds with the lowest term of maturity continues to reflect the perception of high risk among bond buyers.”
Dragon Capital writes: “With the 2021 budget’s deficit target set at 5.5% of GDP, government borrowing needs will remain high this year, keeping it reliant on cooperation with the IMF.”
Ukraine’s 16-day lockdown of restaurants and shopping malls starts tomorrow. Confirmed new coronavirus cases totaled 6,911 yesterday morning – one half the daily average of one month ago. In light of the drop, Ternopil City Mayor Serhiy Nadal said yesterday his city of 223,000 people will ignore the lockdown. Anatoliy Bondarenko, mayor of Cherkasy, a slightly larger city, says he will recommend to his City Council to ignore the lockdown. Nationwide, shopping centers will lose $60 million in rent and
In face of business pressure to soften or shorten the lockdown, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov told reporters yesterday: “The Health Ministry is against the postponement of the quarantine, against its cancellation.” He said of the 23,000 people hospitalized for Covid, 10% are seriously ill and “about 200 people die from the disease every day.” Stepanov denounced as “political PR” a move by Biolik, a Kharkiv pharmaceutical firm, to register in Ukraine Sputnik V, the Russian vaccine. Stepanov told Reuters: “It
To boost cargo on the Dnipro River, the Infrastructure Ministry plans to introduce a liberalized regime where captains of foreign flag vessels have to simply email an application for a port call to the Maritime Administration within three working days of the intended visit. This will replace the current system of applying for one-time permits, a cumbersome and often costly system that effectively closes the Dnipro to most foreign flag cargo ships.
Ukrzaliznytsia increased its freight traffic in December by 7.4% yoy, transporting 26.7 million tons of cargo, reports the state railroad’s press service. By another measure, freight turnover was up 4.4% yoy, to 14.4 billion tonnes. A key indicator of economic activity, UZ moves half of Ukraine’s cargo.
In 2020, 20 Ukrainian films backed by the State Film Agency are now screening in cinemas, and 92 new film projects were launched, Oleksandr Tkachenko, Culture and Information Policy Minister, told reporters last week in an online press conference. All theaters are to close from tomorrow through Jan. 24. During the second half of last year, many cinemas stayed open, selling a maximum of half of tickets in each hall. Attendance was down sharply compared to 2019.
French President Emmanuel Macron is one of a string of Western leaders expected to visit Ukraine this year. Next Tuesday, Moldova’s new, pro-EU President Maia Sandu will visit Kyiv, the first such visit by a Moldovan president in four years. Later this month, Sweden’s Foreign Minister, Ann Linde, visit Ukraine in her new capacity as chair of the OSCE. Macron is expected in the first half of this year, reports DN.ua, citing Ihor Zhovka, Zelenskiy’s deputy chief of staff. Zhovka
Odesa region’s Pivdennyi port consolidated its position as Ukraine’s premier sea port last year, increasing cargo by 14.5% yoy, and accounting for 39% for all of Ukraine’s waterborne trade. Ukraine’s five largest ports accounted for 92% of its 159 million tons of water borne cargo, reports the Sea Port Authority. But growth was only at Pivdennyi (formerly Yuzhny), where cargo grew to 62 million tons, and at Mariupol, on the Azov, where cargo was up 8% yoy, to 7 million
President Zelenskiy last week signed the law “On Inland Water Transport,” legislation that opens the Dnipro to foreign flag vessels and allows for the creation of a dedicated fund to rebuild the locks and docks. Artem Kovalev, the Rada member who pushed for the law, has warned: “The river infrastructure is 75% worn out.” With the changes, he predicts, river cargo will triple to 30 million tons a year in 2024, the end of the Zelenskiy presidency. He said this
Provided Covid-19 vaccines are distributed extensively, the world economy will rebound this year by 4%, nearly recovering from its 4.3% fall last year, predicts the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects forecast. According to the World Bank, growth rates in 2021 will be: US – 3.5%; Eurozone – 3.6%; Ukraine – 3%; Japan – 2.5; and China by 7.9%.
As part of the ‘Small Carpathian Circle,’ a mountain driving circuit through Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Zakarpattia regions, Lviv region plans to rebuild 75 km of mountain roads this year, including upgrading 37 bridges over mountain rivers. Lviv is spending $7 million on this project, the same amount as last year. Oleh Bereza, head of Lviv Region’s Road Service, cites the tourism impact, saying: “Thanks to the Small Carpathian Circle project, we will not only connect the three regions of the