Ukraine and IMF may reach a staff level agreement in the next few weeks,

close to the one year anniversary of the $5 billion Stand-By Agreement, Yuriy Geletiy, Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, announced in an interview with FinClub. Referring to reforms that must pass the Rada, he said: “Work with our Banking Committee is quite constructive. I hope it will be the same with other committees, which will consider the legislative changes needed to continue cooperation with the IMF.” After the IMF approved an 18-month stand-by program last June 9,

The National Bank has simplified regulations for Ukrainian companies seeking to issue debt securities on the international market,

the NBU said. The following amendments were introduced: “transactions to distribute income on and redeem Eurobonds as well as other issuer transactions for the purpose of placing such securities were removed from the list that is subject to a EUR 2 million annual limit; foreign currency can be bought to be deposited on the own account of the issuer with a Ukrainian bank until the maturity date of liabilities under Eurobonds.”

The Finance Ministry raised the equivalent of $370 million at its weekly auction yesterday,

the Ministry reported on its Facebook page. Yields in hryvnia reflect the Central Bank’s increase in the nation’s prime rate 10 days ago to 7.5%. The yields were: 6-month – 9%; 1-year – 11.2%; 1.5 year – 11.3%; 2-year – 11.96%; 3-year – 12.28%. In the foreign currency placements, the Ministry sold $21 million worth of 1-year dollar bonds at 3.7% and €42 million worth of 1-year euro bonds at 2.5%.

Demand for dollars hit a 4-year high during the recent military standoff between Russia and Ukraine

, Bohdan Danylyshyn, chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine, announced on the banks Facebook page. Since the start of April, Ukrainians bought $422 million more dollars than they sold, according to Central Bank figures. By comparison, the figure in March was $182 million. After Russia’s Defense Minister promised on Thursday to withdraw troops from positions near Ukraine, the hryvnia strengthened against the dollar by 0.5%.

The Central Bank revised its 2020 inflation forecast to 8%, from 7%.

After inflation hit 8.5% yoy last month, the National Bank of Ukraine now predicts that inflation will peak at 9.6% in the third quarter. It will recede steadily, hitting 5% for 2021, the bank has predicted.

The National Bank of Ukraine also downgraded its forecast for real GDP growth in 2021 to 3.8%, from 4.2%.

“The introduction of new quarantine restrictions has led to the suppression of business activity,” the bank said. “The effect of last year’s low harvests affected the indicators of agriculture, food processing and cargo turnover.” After a 2.8% drop during January-February, growth should return in the current second quarter, the bank predicts. The World Bank also predicts 2021 GDP growth of 3.8%.

According to a Reuters poll of analysts, the Central Bank is expected to raise its prime interest rate tomorrow in order to catch up with inflation,

Of the 16 analysts, 10 foresee the rate rising to 7% from the current level of 6.5%. Three expect an increase to 7.5%. March inflation jumped to 8.5% yoy, which was fueled by food and energy price hikes.  The National Bank of Ukraine raised the interest rate 50 basis points at its last meeting, in March.

Ukraine’s March inflation íncreased to 8.5% yoy, setting the stage for an interest rate hike this Thursday

at the scheduled meeting of the National Bank of Ukraine’s Monetary Policy Board. According to the State Statistics Service inflation has climbed steadily recording these rates: December – 5%; January 6.1%; and 7.5% in February. The Central Bank has predicted that 2021 inflation will be 7%.

For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit Ukraine, business expectations have moved into the positive

territory of the Central Bank’s monthly survey. The mood inched up to 51.4 points, the first time since February 2020 that the index of business prospects have crossed the 50-point equilibrium, reported the National Bank of Ukraine. The survey of 269 companies was taken March 3-24, before the latest imposition of quarantine restrictions.