- Covid Infections Soar
- Ukrainians Reject India’s “Covishield” Shot
- Hospitals Destroy Unused Supplies
- Quarantine in the Capital
- Farmak PCR Kits to the Rescue
- Constant Trade Deficit
- Zelenskiy Eyes Satellite Launch
- Hotel Chains Focus on Kyiv
New Covid-19 infections have soared to record levels as the police force is set to impose a strict lockdown for three weeks. “We need to gain time and do everything to prevent the collapse of the medical system,” said Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko. Cinemas and shopping malls will be closed completely. People are to be banned from sporting events, cafes and restaurants will be limited to providing takeaway, while schools and universities will begin remote learning and all government employees will work from home.
Ukraine has recorded a total of 29,253 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic and the total number of infections since the pandemic began a year ago has exceeded 1.5 million, said Health chief Maksym Stepanov. The real number is thought to be much higher than official statistics, which only includes medically confirmed deaths resulting from Covid.
Even though the government received half-a-million doses of India-made Covishield shots earlier this month, it faces a battle against skepticism towards the vaccine. “Ukrainian medical facilities have thrown away some unused vaccines after doctors failed to show up for their own appointments to be vaccinated, authorities said,” according to Reuters.
Former president Petro Poroshenko, now European Solidarity party leader, said that Ukrainian health care workers were refusing inoculation in the belief that the vaccines were of poor quality. In Parliament, the Former President used foul language to describe the India-made vaccines. Health authorities said that around 1/3 of medical staff in the country have already been infected with Covid, and the rest are divided between those who want to be vaccinated and those who say they have no intention of taking either of the available vaccines.
Farmak, one of Ukraine’s top pharmaceutical companies, has created a state-of-the-art PCR test to detect new variants of the novel coronavirus, the company says. The joint commercial project with the Hromashevsky Institute of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases allows scientists to carry out the sequencing procedure via reading the sequence of nucleotides in the RNA of the virus. The results of the study, as well as information about the virus strains circulating in Ukraine since the beginning of the pandemic, have already been posted in the GISAID international initiative promoting the rapid sharing of data from all influenza viruses and the coronavirus causing COVID-19.
Farmak said that its product also detects the new UK variant of coronavirus. The PCR test system is based on the TaqPath COVID 19 RT PCR Kit (manufactured by Thermo Scientific, the United States), which is authorized by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA). High quality components made in the United States are used for the production of the new SARS-CoV-2 test kit.
The accuracy of the new test kit is verified by the findings of the Hromashevsky Institute of Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases of the Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine and the Mechnikov Institute of Microbiology and Immunology of the Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine in Kharkiv. Reference trials of the PCR test kit are carried out in both private and public laboratories in Ukraine (Kharkiv, Dnipro, Zaporizhia, Vinnytsia), confirming its accuracy. Farmak says that the new test kit can be pre-oredered.
Ukraine faces a trade deficit as imports amounted to $4.87 billion and export $4.55 billion in February 2021, the government has reported. According to the State Customs Service, “imports in the first two months of this year showed an increase over the same period last year by 4.5% and amounted to $9.09 billion, and exports – by 4.4%, to $8.49 billion. At the same time, in February, imports rose to $4.87 billion, which is 6.5% higher than the same period last year and 15.4% higher than in January. As for exports, last month it also showed an increase of 14.8% compared to February 2020 and 15.8% compared to January, reaching $4.55 billion.”
President Zelenskiy aims to launch satellite “Sich 2” into space by the end of the year, Economic Truth reports. The Parliamentary Committee on Economic Development together with the State Space Committee announced the completion of the next stage of negotiations with SpaceX on the launch of the Ukrainian satellite. The topic of launching a satellite is controversial, as many Ukrainians remember the ambitious project to create and launch the first telecommunications satellite “Lybid“. The Ukrainian government spent 24 years and about $350 million on the failed launch.
Ukraine and China are exploring further trade liberalization, said the Deputy Minister of Economy and Trade Representative of Ukraine, Taras Kachka. “During the fourth intergovernmental commission in November 2020, we signed a joint statement on the study of trade liberalization. We are working well on it, with a dialogue between department directors. There is already have the content available that we will study, schedule, resources, and work on the preparation of further trade liberalization. We do not see any threat in this,” said a senior trade official.
Major international hotel brands are planning to open new hotels in Ukraine within the next two years, said the International Relations Director of the Ukrainian Hotel & Resort Ivan Lun (Interfax-Ukraine). “Today, only 17 hotels operate under international brands in Ukraine. This is a paltry figure: compare it with 185 branded hotels in Poland, a country comparable to ours in terms of geography, population and economic potential,” he said.
According to Open4business.ua, the most active hotel chains in Ukraine today are Accor, Radisson, InterContinental, Marriott and Hilton, whose development offices are located in Moscow and Warsaw. In addition, according to experts, the Wyndham chain and the Louvre Hotel Group have recently also promoted their brands and participated in tenders for projects, mainly through franchise supplies.
A criminal case has been initiated against top NBU official Kateryna Rozhkova, who worked on the investigation and 2016 nationalization of PrivatBank, according to a document from the Prosecutor General’s office seen by the Kyiv Post.
- 1% GDP Growth in 2021: Zelensky Aide
- MoF Boosts UAH Issues
- Expansion of Primary Dealers
- Debt Management Shines
- Land Sales Damage National Security: Tymoshenko
- Ukrainian Railways Makes Big Bets
- Mayor Threatens Another Lockdown
According to Zelenskiy aide, Yulia Sviridenko, GDP will grow 5.1% in 2021. “In 2021, our expectation’s for GDP growth are at the level of 5.1%,” she said during a conversation with journalists on the sidelines of the recent Ukraine 30 Forum dedicated to small businesses.
The Ministry of Finance issued securities worth UAH 10.1 billion and USD 154 million, totaling over UAH 14 bn, the government reported at this weeks bond auction.
Last week, the government passed a decree amending the Provision on the Institute of Primary Dealers of government debt securities. This unexpected decision allows amending the Regulation on the Institution of Primary Dealers, determining primary dealers as financial institutions that meet the established requirements.
The government said that expanding the universe of primary dealers will promote competition in the primary market of government bonds, increase liquidity, and facilitate the reduction of the cost of borrowing in the local market. “The development of the domestic government securities market allows the Ministry of Finance to achieve one of the objectives set out in the Medium-Term Public Debt Management Strategy, namely, to increase the share of state debt in the national currency” a the MoF website said.
The four main objectives for state debt management are: 1. Increase the share of state debt denominated in local currency; 2. Lengthen average debt maturity and ensure a smooth state debt repayment profile; 3. Attract long-term concessional funding; 4. Continue developing strong investor relationships and further improve the state debt management policy framework.
A high portion of fixed-rate debt instruments (75%) accounts for Ukraine’s state debt. This includes the share of Ukraine’s fixed-rate state debt is which is higher as compared to its rating peers (73%), although lower as compared to its regional peers and peers – regional leaders, which have 80% and 89% of fixed-rate debt, respectively.
Ukraine’s strong debt service profile during 2019 – 2022 indicated a low number of retapping peaks is the result of Ukraine’s active state debt management policy. This follows the restructuring of the state and state-guaranteed external commercial debt in 2015. “The average state debt interest and redemption amount accounts for UAH 484.7bn with a standard deviation standing at UAH 4.6bn in 2019 – 2022, based on outstanding and planned debt obligations.”
Selling Ukrainian land to foreigners is against Ukraine’s national security interests, “Fatherland” party chief and iconic opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko said in a press conference commending the draft law on a land market. “Ukraine will not make a profit from its land, it will lose millions of jobs, it will not be able to collect agricultural raw materials and process it into finished food products, it will be deprived of hundreds of billions of euros in income,” the people’s deputy stressed.
Especially valuable land, which includes reservoirs, protected forests, black soil, and national park land shouldn’t be sold off to foreigners, she stressed. “They just want to drive our peasants and farmers from their land. They want to force them to go to electronic auctions and compete in buying land with global banks and corporations. No farmers will be able to do this,” Tymoshenko said.
Ukrainian Railways is planning to earn UAH 72 billion in revenue from freight transportation in 2021. This increase of 10% was announced at increased freight rates are expected to deliver this revenue boost.
Ukrainian Railways plans to introduce 30 new summer routes for 2021 and has announced plans to connect the million-plus cities Kharkiv – Dnipro and Kharkiv – Odesa, while resuming the connection Kryvyi Rih – Odesa route. “We take all these plans not from our heads, but from the existing proposals of public activists. Over the past months, we have received more than 450 requests to change the schedule and optimize routes,” said the head of passenger transport Alexander Pertsovsky at a corporate presentation.
Covid continues grow in Kyiv, as Mayor Klitschko threatens another lockdown. “I think we can wait several days, maximum in a week,” Klitschko said on the air of the Ukraine 24 TV channel. As the virus mutates and becomes aggressive, the number of hospitalized patients is increasing. “I am forced to appeal to the government with a demand to expand the list of anti-epidemic restrictions in force in the” orange “zone,” he noted and added that several options for enhancing quarantine are currently being considered, but only the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine can make such a decision.”
- Inflation Creeps Up
- NBU Meeting Sets Key Policy Goals
- ”Green-EU” Course: PM
- Ukravtodor Teams Up With EBRD
- Exotic Fruit Purchases Up
- More & More Electricity Imports from Belarus & Russia
- Ukrainians Categorically Refuse Indian Vaccine
During a Key Policy Rate Discussion hosted by the NBU Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), the Central Bank leadership has revealed that inflation has increased noticeably in 2021. “More specifically, in January, as expected, inflation overshot the upper boundary of the target range of 5% ± 1 pp. According to the NBU’s online monitoring data, in February consumer prices rose at a faster pace than envisaged in the baseline macroeconomic forecast.”
Six MPC members favor upping the key policy rate to 6.5%, in line with the baseline scenario of the NBU’s overall forecast. The leadership of the Central Bank agreed that it would have to continue to up the key policy rate in order to decrease underlying inflationary pressures and to smooth out potential volatility.
Ukraine’s economy continues its strong post-Covid recovery. The NBU said in a major online press release that “the 2020 GDP fall (by 4.2%) turned out to be less pronounced than expected at the onset of the coronavirus crisis (by 6%). The adverse impact of the stricter quarantine restrictions imposed in January on the economy was only temporary. Business sentiment improved significantly after the January lockdown was lifted. In February, industrial companies reported positive expectations of their business performance, for the first time in the last four months. The expectations of the trade and services sectors almost reached the equilibrium level. The global economy has also rebounded on the back of the rolling out of vaccination campaigns and large-scale stimulus programs.”
The government is currently working on the gradual transform of the economy towards carbon-neutral development, and steps to implement the Paris Agreement. This will bring Ukraine closer to the European Green Course and to the provisions of the Association Agreement with the EU, said Prime Minister Denis Shmygal during a meeting to discuss the preparation of Ukraine’s second nationally determined contribution to the Paris Agreement (Ukrinform).
According to a senior government official who spoke to Ukrinform, “Ukraine is an active participant in the global fight against climate change and adaptation to it. That is why today our main task is to ensure that the second NVB to the Paris Agreement, formed in the final, meets the long-term goal of achieving carbon neutrality no later than 2060, but at the same time is realistic. Vectors of development of sectors of the Ukrainian economy must be economically and ecologically balanced.”
Ukravtodor has launched a joint anti-corruption project with the EBRD. The loan agreement between Ukravtodor and the EBRD is valued at EUR 450 million. It provides for the implementation of four important reforms for this vital infrastructure: procurement reform, improved traffic safety, development of infrastructure for electric transport and anti-corruption reform.
“We highly appreciate the initiative of Ukravtodor to implement this project, because it should result in a completely updated management system for the road industry who are partners of the EBRD in Ukraine “, said EBRD senior economist Andriy Tsokol.
DTEK expressed gratitude to the US Embassy for the continuing support of reforms in Ukraine. The parties discussed the major developments and problems of the energy sector and exchange thoughts on necessity to continue reforms and liberalize the market. Including the issue of cooperation with US firms, such as a pilot project on energy storage with Honeywell and perspectives to enlarge this partnership.
Imports of exotic fruit rose by 18% in 2020, valued at $795 million, the Institute of Agrarian Economics reports, citing data from the State Customs Service. The main supplier of exotic fruit is Turkey. Which accounted for the volume of trade of 269,000 tons of various fruit varieties last year. Turkish products make up 28.8% of all imports, followed by Ecuador (12.9), Greece (6.2%), Costa Rica (6.8%), Spain (5.4%), Egypt (five%). These countries account for 64% of the exotic fruit trade with Ukraine.
Electricity imports from Russia and Belarus continue despite negative PR, Liga Business has reported. From the beginning of 2021 to March 11th, 576 mln kWh were imported from Belarus and Russia, of which 83% (476 mln kWh) came from Belarus, and 17% (100 mln kWh) – from Russia. On March 5-11, imports into the UPS amounted on average to 2.3 mln kWh (last week – 2.2 mln kWh per day), including 2.2 mln kWh from Belarus and 0.1 mln kWh from Russia.
Although coronavirus infections and hospitalizations are increasing exponentially, most Ukrainians are stand firmly opposed to getting vaccinated. A March opinion poll by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology found 60% of the country’s people don’t want to get vaccinated, up from 40% a month earlier. The nationwide poll of 1,207 had a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.
“Such a low number of vaccinated people is associated with low confidence in the vaccine that is being used in Ukraine,” said Olena Marchenko a senior health administrator of the vaccine which was manufactured in India, AP reported. “This is due to prejudice and information that is spread on social networks. People read a lot, they have a negative attitude towards the Indian vaccine.“
- Ukraine Gets “B Stable” from S&P
- China & Russia buy up Ukrainian Weapons
- Ukreximbank Posts Profits
- Naftogaz Builds Partnerships
- Ryanair Boosts Ukraine Routes
- Govt. to Issue Vaccine Certificates
S&P Global Ratings re-affirms Ukraine “B with stable outlook” when it comes to long-term and short-term liabilities in foreign and national currencies, said the international agency.
“Ukraine’s growth, balance of payments and public finances exceeded our expectations in 2020,” S&P said in a press release. The Ministry of Finance has successfully maneuvered through many challenges related to the pandemic and handled multiple crises connected with the overall global economic slowdown.
Ukraine’s rating could be bumped up next year if the economy recovers more actively. “Levels of external liquidity and consolidation of public finances should exceed the current forecast,” according to S&P.
However, the agency acknowledges some risks will continue to exist. “The rating may deteriorate due to interruptions in obtaining funding from international organizations. Disruptions could occur if the government abandons key reforms such as ensuring the independence of the central bank, which is the key regulator for the country’s financial sector.”
The banking sector stays relatively strong, S&P says. “Subsidiaries of foreign banks and private Ukrainian banks will remain stable amid the pandemic and will resume growth in the retail and corporate segments.” Analysts note that the main challenges of state-owned PrivatBank, Oschadbank, Ukrgasbank and Ukreximbank in 2021-2022 will be “clearing” balance sheets of NPL issued in previous years, the implementation of effective business strategies, and improving the quality of corporate governance to prepare for partial or full privatization.
Russia is the second largest buyer of Ukrainian weapons, only behind China, according to 2020 data published by the Stockholm Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Ukrainian arms were exported mainly to China (36% of total exports), Russia (20%) and Thailand (17%), SIPRI specifies.
Ukraine ranks 12th in the world for arms exports with a global export market share of nearly 1%, SIPRI reports. Between 2011-2015, Ukrainian arms exports accounted for 2.6% of the global market.
Naftogaz and Naphtha Israel Petroleum sign a memorandum of understanding on geological exploration for hydrocarbons in the Ukrainian part of the Black Sea, the companies said. “It is important for us to have partners such as Naphtha Israel Petroleum in the exploration and development of hydrocarbons in the Black Sea, which should be the most capital intensive project in our portfolio. Following the recently announced partnership with OMV Petrom, which is probably the most active player in the development On the Black Sea shelf, the new partnership will further strengthen our ambitions in this region in the future,” Naftogaz head Otto Waterlander said.
The MOU is another sign of significant interest from international players in the potential of the Ukrainian part of the Black Sea shelf and confidence in Ukraine’s Naftogaz as a competent partner.
Ukreximbank posts profits, continuing a positive trend, the bank reports. “The profit was achieved, in particular, thanks to the optimization of the balance sheet. In February, calculations were carried out on external borrowings, attracted at one time not on the best terms for the bank. In particular, a syndicated loan in synthetic hryvnia and other external liabilities for a total of UAH 4.7 billion in equivalent were repaid, which will further improve the level of profitability and reduce the cost of financing for clients.”
In February, Ukreximbank increased the volume of its loan and investment portfolio by UAH 3.8 billion, „focusing on lending to national producers to increase export earnings, implementing projects in the field of energy conservation and supporting local initiatives, providing financial leverage to the military-industrial and fuel and energy complexes,” said Chief Yevhen Metzger.
Ukrposhta, the state-owned postal service, reports a net profit of UAH 184.5 million (USD 7 million) for 2020, CEO Igor Smelyanskiy said on his Facebook page. This sets a new post-Maidan record for the iconic national company.
Ryanair, the largest low-cost airline in Europe, will launch 18 routes from Ukraine, the company announced. Ryanair’s network from Ukraine in April will include 13 destinations from Boryspil airport including Vienna, Sofia, Berlin, Bergamo, Rome, Vilnius, Gdansk, Katowice, Krakow, Poznan, Warsaw, Wroclaw and London.
In February, UIA announced that in March it will resume flights on seven international routes and increase the frequency on lines where flights are already in operation.
Ukraine will issue an international vaccination certificate, acting within the framework of international law, Chief State Sanitary Doctor Viktor Lyashko said in the Coronavirus Info Telegram channel.
JCC Ukraine Chapter Webinar
“Ukraine’s Energy Sector: New Opportunities”
April 20, 2021 (14:00-15:00 CET)
Speaker: Vitaliy Radchenko, Partner, Head of Energy & Projects, CMS Camaron McKenna Nabarro Olswang
Moderation: Sven Henniger, Partner, Henniger Winkelmann Consulting
Weitere Informationen und Anmeldung unter:
JCC Ukraine Chapter Webinar
“Ukraine’s Agriusiness: New Opportunities”
June 17, 2021 (14:00-15:00 CET)
Speaker: Gebhard Rogenhofer, Wurzelwerk GR GmbH
Moderation: Sven Henniger, Partner, Henniger Winkelmann Consulting
Weitere Informationen und Anmeldung unter:
The original English version is from our partner UBN – Ukraine Business News. For more information and news archive, go to: www.ubn.news.
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