The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Ukraine agreed on a tranche of funding of $ 700 million,

 reported imf.org. The IMF and the Government of Ukraine have signed a preliminary agreement to extend the lending program and provide Ukraine with a tranche of about $700 million. The IMF team and Ukrainian authorities also reached an agreement on policies to support the country’s reforms in the context of the Stand-by Arrangement (SBA).

Ukraine may receive $ 1.4 billion from the IMF

 in October-December 2021, predicted JP Morgan. “We believe that the IMF will pay a tranche of $1.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021 but is considering a possible range of this amount from $1 billion to $1.5 billion”, JP Morgan said. Analysts also believe that the NBU will continue the trend to increase the refinancing rate and in January-March 2022 it will grow from the current 8.5% per annum to 9%, in the second quarter – up to 9.25%,

The IMF’s generosity is under fire.

Its decision to give neighboring Belarus, whose President Alexander Lukashenko is accused of usurping power and accused of dictatorship, about $1 billion, is being strongly criticized  by the Belarusian democratic opposition and their supporters. The move is “a terrible indictment of the IMF and key Western shareholders,” Timothy Ash, emerging markets strategist and commentator at BluBay Asset Management in London, says. “Does SDR stand for Supporting Dodgy Regimes?”

The IMF’s decision to distribute $650 billion in Special Drawing Rights this summer is undermining arguments for free market changes in countries like Ukraine,

Timothy Ash argues in an essay. He writes from London: “The hope was the looming debt service hump for Ukraine in Q3, when $3bn in external debt falls due, would concentrate minds in the Zelenskiy administration. But likely with $2.8bn in SDR allocations due in September now, I think there will be zero incentive on the part of the administration to do anything to meet the conditionality in the SBA [Stand-by Arrangement]. This SBA is dead now in my mind,

Ukraine may receive $2.7 billion from the IMF this summer

under a plan by the International Monetary Fund Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, to allocate $650 billion from international reserves to restore the world economy after the coronavirus crisis. Unlike the conventional IMF programs this money would not have to be paid back. The National Bank of Ukraine Governor, Kyrylo Shevchenko, announced the possible windfall yesterday following a meeting with Alfred Kammer, the Director of the IMF’s European Department.

Separately, Shevchenko told Interfax-Ukraine last week that Ukraine should receive two tranches from last June’s $5 billion IMF Stand-by Agreement

“given the longer course of negotiations.” Ukraine has been in on-again, off-again talks with the IMF since last fall. He said that he hoped that the Rada will pass legislation in coming weeks so that Ukraine will meet the IMF’s compliance requirements. Failing that, he said: “These funds can be replaced by the placement of Eurobonds. We know that the IMF is not primarily about money, but about trust in the country. a strong signal to investors.”

The IMF has raised its Ukraine GDP growth to 4% this year,

 up from its forecast of 3% made six months ago. World GDP is to increase by 6% this year, “reflecting additional fiscal support in a few large economies and the anticipated vaccine-powered recovery in the second half of the year,” the IMF wrote in its April World Economic Outlook Review. Last week, the World Bank raised its growth forecast for Ukraine this year to 3.8%. A Bloomberg survey of 13 economists has predicted a rate of growth of 4.4%. Ukraine’s

Renewal of Ukraine’s $5 billion IMF agreement depends on “a number of outstanding issues that need to be resolved,”

Goesta Ljungman, the IMF’s resident representative, said in a lengthy interview with Interfax-Ukraine. “At this stage, it is not possible to make any predictions about when the review can be completed. This depends on how quickly there is progress on outstanding issues,” he said, referring to the Stand-By Arrangement that has been largely dormant since $2.1 billion was disbursed last June 11.

Facing $6 billion in external borrowing that are needed this year, Ukraine is “already uncomfortable” without the $3 billion in remaining IMF tranches

, Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko said in a lengthy interview with LIGA. “We have no opportunity to receive income from another source,” he says. “The IMF program is our baseline scenario.” He said talks would go better with IMF if they were face to face, not through video calls.

US and IMF support for Ukraine depend on the Zelenskiy Administration taking concrete steps to reform the court system and protect Western-designed anti-corruption institutions,

George Kent, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, told VOA last week. Explicitly tying aid to free market changes, he said: “The expectations of Ukrainians and Americans are clear. Reform efforts need to continue and deepen. The justice sector is absolutely essential.” He added: “The U.S. as a partner is here to be supportive. But to be very clear, any legislation that rolls back the independence of organizations, whether it’s the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, NABU,

In another move to get back on track with the IMF, the Rada overwhelmingly approved yesterday two bills to restore powers to a key agency of Ukraine’s new Western-designed anti-corruption machinery.

In another move to get back on track with the IMF, the Rada overwhelmingly approved yesterday two bills to restore powers to a key agency of Ukraine’s new Western-designed anti-corruption machinery. Two months, ago the Constitutional Court stuck powers of the National Anti-Corruption Agency, a unit that was investigating at least three judges of the Constitutional Court. Oleksandr Novikov, head of the agency, said after the Rada votes: “The National Anti-Corruption Agency resumes all it operations in all major directions

In Washington, Kurt Volker, former special envoy to Ukraine, warned that the incoming Biden administration will not give a free pass to the Zelenskiy administration

In Washington, Kurt Volker, former special envoy to Ukraine, warned that the incoming Biden administration will not give a free pass to the Zelenskiy administration due to Ukraine’s strategic value in blocking Russia. “Ukraine has to take responsibility for its own development – only Ukrainians can solve their own internal issues,” he said when asked at the Ukrainian Investment Roadshow if President-elect Biden will use ‘tough love’ to get Ukraine on the reform track. “Why should the IMF or EU

Drought pushed down this year’s national grain harvest by 13% yoy, to 65.4 million tons

Drought pushed down this year’s national grain harvest by 13% yoy, to 65.4 million tons, Igor Petrashko, minister of Economic Development and Trade, announced yesterday. The fall ended two years of record harvests – first 70 million tons in 2018, then 75 million tons in 2019. This year, Ukraine’s top volume crop, corn fell 17% yoy, to 29.8 million tons. Wheat, the second largest crop, fell by 10%, to 25.1 million tons.

Despite the drops, Minister Petrashko said the 2020 harvest is “three times more than the needs of the domestic market

Despite the drops, Minister Petrashko said the 2020 harvest is “three times more than the needs of the domestic market, and also allows us to maintain a leading position in the export of agricultural products.” With overnight frosts freezing the ground in some parts of Ukraine, winter sowing has been completed on 8 million hectares.

Thousands of small business owners and workers yesterday protested the impending coronavirus lockdown and end of tax privileges

Thousands of small business owners and workers yesterday protested the impending coronavirus lockdown and end of tax privileges, blocking central Kyiv’s Maidan Square and Kreschatyk Street into the night. Reuters reported that one police officer was knocked unconscious and 40 others received chemical eye burns from gas. “Stop the Lockdown” was the slogan that brought small business people from across the nation to protest the January 8-24 lockdown. The protest is coordinated by ‘Save FOP’ a national movement of autonomous

One quarter of Kyiv restaurants have closed permanently due to coronavirus restrictions this year

One quarter of Kyiv restaurants have closed permanently due to coronavirus restrictions this year, estimates a new study, “Consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic and quarantine measures for the leading sectors of the Ukrainian economy.”  “In cities where there is less population, the situation is many times worse,” Marlin Tynny, owner of the Praha and Montecchi Capuleti restaurants, tells researchers. “Millions of people were left without a livelihood.” The 190-page study was prepared by the Center for Applied Research in cooperation

Kyiv City has the highest coronavirus infection rate of Ukraine

Kyiv City has the highest coronavirus infection rate of Ukraine, reports the Health Ministry. In the first half of December, Kyiv’s infection rate was 746 per 100,000 people. Close behind were: Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Sumy, Zaporizhia and Kyiv Region.

Fueled by foreign investors looking for high yields, the Finance Ministry sold a record $1.85 billion worth of government bonds at auction yesterday

Fueled by foreign investors looking for high yields, the Finance Ministry sold a record $1.85 billion worth of government bonds at auction yesterday. Yields on hryvnia bonds ranged from 10% for 3-month bonds to 12.18% for 5-year bonds, the Ministry reported on Facebook. In addition to offering hryvnia bonds with seven different tenures, the Ministry offered 1-year bonds in dollars and euros. Investors bought $266 million worth of dollar bonds with 3.85% yields and €56.7 million worth of euro bonds

The total amount raised was more than three times the amount raised at last week’s auction.

The total amount raised was more than three times the amount raised at last week’s auction. With two more weekly auctions scheduled this month, the Ministry is expected to cover the budget shortfall before the end of the year.

The Rada passed Ukraine’s 2021 budget yesterday. A fiscally conservative document with a deficit of 5.5% of gross domestic product

The Rada passed Ukraine’s 2021 budget yesterday. A fiscally conservative document with a deficit of 5.5% of gross domestic product, slightly less than this year. Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko said the budget is a key step for Ukraine to get back on track with the IMF program agreed last June. He told reporters after the vote by parliament: “The budget is a marker showing that we can fulfill our obligations.”

Foreign shipping companies will be allowed to carry cargo up and down the Dnipro,

Foreign shipping companies will be allowed to carry cargo up and down the Dnipro, under legislation approved by the Rada recently with President Zelenskiy’s backing. The goal is to triple annual river cargo to 30 million tons by 2024. “We need to build 250-300 new vessels,” Artem Kovalev, the Rada member who authored the bill, told UNIAN. “It is unrealistic to do this in a short time…so we have agreed to allow vessels flying a foreign flag to operate in

Ukrainians spent about $150 million last year to buy 3,200 apartments in Poland, making Ukrainians the largest foreign investor group in Polish residential real estate.

Ukrainians spent about $150 million last year to buy 3,200 apartments in Poland, making Ukrainians the largest foreign investor group in Polish residential real estate. The calculations were made by Gethhome.pl, based on data from Poland’s Interior and Administration Ministry. Ukrainians buy apartments to live in. Germans, the second largest foreign investor nationality, buy apartments as investments, reports PAP, the Polish Press Agency.

Low oil prices have saved Ukraine $3 billion so far this year

Low oil prices have saved Ukraine $3 billion so far this year, reports the State Customs Service. Through November, Ukraine oil import bill is down 36%, while the import volume is down only 5.6%. The top three sources of petroleum products are: Russia — $1.1 billion, or 35.9%; Belarus –$1.09 billion or 35.4%; and Lithuania — $360 million, or 12%.

Ukraine’s power plants reduced their coal consumption by 32% through October and increased their gas use by 31%

Ukraine’s power plants reduced their coal consumption by 32% through October and increased their gas use by 31%, reports Expro.com, citing Energy Ministry numbers. Coal consumption fell to 14.1 million tons, while gas consumption rose 3.9 billion cubic meters.

Ukraine is gradually phasing out the use of coal

Ukraine is gradually phasing out the use of coal, President Zelenskiy told a UN-sponsored gathering on Saturday, the International Climate Ambition Summit. Promising a “fair transformation of the coal sector,” Zelenskiy said in a recorded statement to the online gathering of Heads of Government that Ukraine will cut greenhouse gas emissions until reaching an ultimate goal of carbon neutrality. He blamed climate change for this year’s droughts that damaged crops across Ukraine and for forest fires in the east and

With demand dropping for coal, Ukraine’s coal mining industry is a shadow of its

With demand dropping for coal, Ukraine’s coal mining industry is a shadow of its peak when it employed 500,000 miners, making Ukraine Europe’s third largest coal producer, after Germany and Poland. Last year, Ukraine’s production was 31 million tons – 17% the level of 1989. This year, it could fall to 25 million tons – the level of 1914.

All unprofitable mines will be closed in this decade

All unprofitable mines will be closed in this decade, Olha Buslavets, first deputy Energy Minister said last week at the First German-Ukrainian Energy Day. “Unprofitable mines will be closed within ten years,” she said. “The minimization of subsidies to the industry from the state budget will take place in the coming years.” Addressing the challenge of retraining and relocating thousands of miners, she said: “Care must be taken so that no one is left behind. This is the motto of

The EU is ready to help Ukrainian miners move out of coal

The EU is ready to help Ukrainian miners move out of coal, Torsten Wöllert, a European Commission energy official from Brussels, said at the Germany-Ukraine Day. “We are ready from the EU to help in this start together with the EU member states – Germany, Poland.,” he promised. “We will accompany Ukraine in this.”

At the German-sponsored Energy Day, Prime Minister Shmygal thanked Germany for its aid,

At the German-sponsored Energy Day, Prime Minister Shmygal thanked Germany for its aid, saying “the project for a fair transformation of coal regions under the new energy partnership will begin this month: work will begin at two selected mines in the East and West of Ukraine.” Reflecting the shift in Ukrainian government attitudes toward coal, he said Ukraine will join a loose international grouping, the Powering Past Coal Alliance.

With the EBRD planning to invest up to $100 billion to help EU coal mining towns shift to new vocations through 2027

With the EBRD planning to invest up to $100 billion to help EU coal mining towns shift to new vocations through 2027, the Bank held an online conference Friday to promote a similar shift in Ukraine – the Platform Initiative in Support of Coal Regions in Transition in Western Balkans and Ukraine. “The EBRD confirmed its commitment to providing finance for investments that will support the transition from coal,” a Bank executive said at the meeting, organized with the World Bank,

Polish tourists traveling to Chervonohrad, a Lviv region border town, will one day visit ‘Nadia,’ a Soviet-era coal mine turned into “industrial museum,”

Polish tourists traveling to Chervonohrad, a Lviv region border town, will one day visit ‘Nadia,’ a Soviet-era coal mine turned into “industrial museum,” under a plan by Ukraine’s Regional Development Ministry. The project is part of a plan by the Ministry to transform mining towns into industrial parks, research centers, logistics complexes and even tourist attractions. Located one hour north of Lviv, Chervonohrad, population 65,000, has a mining college and nine coal mines. But, with coal prices low and payment

The government promises to pay this week $50 million in back wages owed to coal miners across the country

The government promises to pay this week $50 million in back wages owed to coal miners across the country, ruling party Rada Member Vasyl Mokan promised yesterday. About one quarter of the debt is owed to miners in Lviv, largely in Chervonohrad, Mykhailo Volynets, chairman of Ukraine’s Independent Trade Union of Miners, wrote Friday on Facebook.

Ukraine is discussing with Turkey the joint creation of launch vehicles for commercial launches of satellites into space

Ukraine is discussing with Turkey the joint creation of launch vehicles for commercial launches of satellites into space, Ukraine’s Strategic Industries Minister Oleg Urusky tells Radio Svoboda. Ukraine’s Yuzhnoye Design Bureau works with Northrop Grumman to  produce expendable rockets for placing satellites in low-Earth orbits. Ukraine and Turkey would need to use a third country cosmodrome, Urusky said. Until 2015, Ukraine had a project with Brazil to launch Ukraine’s Cyclone-4 carrier rockets from Brazil’s Alcântara Launch Center, near the Equator.

The prolonged coronavirus pandemic will stretch Ukraine’s economic recession through the winter

The prolonged coronavirus pandemic will stretch Ukraine’s economic recession through the winter, Economy Minister Ihor Petrashko predicted yesterday. But after a 3% GDP yoy drop in the first quarter, growth will resume in April, he told the Ukrainian Investment Roadshow. Growth will continue strongly, allowing Ukraine to end 2021 with 4.6% GDP growth, he said. Such a U-shaped economic recovery would cancel out the 5% GDP drop forecast for 2020.

Big government spending on infrastructure is singlehandedly pulling the construction sector into positive territory this year

Big government spending on infrastructure is singlehandedly pulling the construction sector into positive territory this year, according to analysis by Alfa-Bank Ukraine. Through October, construction is up by 1.9% yoy. A 10.6% rise in infrastructure investment was enough to offset a 18.7% drop in housing construction. Alfa reports: “Spending on roads more than doubled compared to the previous year.”

Overall, the government’s Big Construction’s share of GDP grew from 2.8% in the first quarter, to 10% in the fourth quarter

Overall, the government’s Big Construction’s share of GDP grew from 2.8% in the first quarter, to 10% in the fourth quarter, Mikhail Kukhar, chief economist of Ukraine Economic Outlook, said last week at a road industry forum. He said: “The decline in our country’s GDP would have been 11% in the fourth quarter, if not for the Big Construction project.” The Q4 decline is expected to be about 3.7%.

By the end of this month, the goals of the Big Construction project should be 95% complete, 

By the end of this month, the goals of the Big Construction project should be 95% complete, Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy presidential chief of staff, tells Interfax-Ukraine. The completion scorecard is: 200 schools and kindergartens: 93% complete; 4,000 km of state roads: 92% complete: and 100 sports facilities – 87% complete. For schools, the construction means new buildings for 8,338 students and renovated buildings for 55,000 students.

Europe’s biggest floating crane is being towed from Istanbul to Zaporizhia to complete the long-delayed bridge over the Dnipro

Europe’s biggest floating crane is being towed from Istanbul to Zaporizhia to complete the long-delayed bridge over the Dnipro, reports Ukravtodor. When erect, the crane rises 148 meters — nearly the height of Kyiv’s Parus office tower. The bridge complex is 9 km long. Onur, the Turkish company which is carrying out the $400 million contract to complete the bridge says part of the route will open to vehicles at the end of this month.

Since March $518 million in loans have been extended to small businesses, a factor in mitigating the impact of the coronavirus recession

Since March $518 million in loans have been extended to small businesses, a factor in mitigating the impact of the coronavirus recession, the Finance Ministry reported yesterday.  Under the ‘5-7-9% Loans’ program, 6,300 loans have been extended to businesses with less than $3.5 million in annual revenue. Of the total, 68% of the loan money has gone to refinance existing debt, the Finance Ministry reported yesterday. There are 23 private and state banks participating in the program.

Home mortgage loans, long a rarity in Ukraine, are up 23% yoy, totalling almost $100 million through October

Home mortgage loans, long a rarity in Ukraine, are up 23% yoy, totalling almost $100 million through October. The average size is for $26,000, and 87% are for second homes, reports the National Bank of Ukraine. The secondary home market is more popular because rates are lower — 14.3% — than for first homes — 17.2%.

By replacing ‘Black Friday’ sales with ‘Black Week’ sales, merchants managed to save what could have been a bleak start to the holiday season

By replacing ‘Black Friday’ sales with ‘Black Week’ sales, merchants managed to save what could have been a bleak start to the holiday season, Ukrainian bankers tell Interfax-Ukraine. Charges with Akkord bank cards were up 38% this year, compared to a 47% increased last year. At Kreditvest Bank, Chairman Vasily Nevmerzhitsky said the week over week sales were up only 20-30%. He said: “If we compare sales on Black Friday in 2019 and in Black Week in 2020, the total

By contrast, the MOYO chain of electronics stores says it doubled its sales on Black Friday

By contrast, the MOYO chain of electronics stores says it doubled its sales on Black Friday. Sales were boosted partly by a 16% increase in stores, to 36, and by keeping one store in Kyiv open around the clock. MOYO CEO Valentin Ivakin said: “The number orders and their amount twice exceeded the record of 2019.”