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  • IMF-Ukraine on Hold Until Election Results Clear
  • Kernel Borrows Money at Lower Rate than Ukraine
  • Rail Cargo Up 3.5%
  • MHP Boosts Poultry Exports 37%
  • More Ukrainians Work in Poland
  • Radisson Comes to Odesa

Although no IMF review mission has come to Ukraine in the five months since the deal was signed, top Ukrainian officials say all is well. President Zelenskiy told a group of TV interviewers: “There are requirements from the International Monetary Fund. I believe we have done everything.” The new governor of the central bank, Kyrylo Shevchenko, told reporters: “As before, we expect the next tranche from the IMF to arrive at the end of this year.”

Analysts say both sides are wait for the outcomes of two elections – the local elections in Ukraine and the Nov. 3 presidential election in the US. If Biden is elected in the US, the thinking goes, he will lean on Ukraine to get in compliance – and on the IMF to restart the program.

Timothy Ash writes from London sees no fresh IMF money until next spring: Best case some time in Q2 2021, assuming Biden wins the presidency, and takes an interest in Ukraine again.”

One German insider emails the UBN about semi-annual joint IMF/World Bank meeting concluded in Washington on Sunday: The meeting on Ukraine was cancelled, as no progress on reforms was noted. Treatment of [National Bank of Ukraine] management totally inappropriate. Unprecedented! Therefore, no review mission, no next tranche. Wait and see what is going to happen after elections and potential government changes (Economy, Finance?).”

Bloomberg writes:The prospect of further IMF financing is…fading, worrying investors who count on the lender as a backstop. The Washington-based fund has concerns over damage to Ukraine’s anti-corruption agenda and central-bank independence. Highlighting the nervous mood, state-controlled energy company Naftogaz this week delayed a bond sale, signaling that the borrowing costs on offer from investors were too high.”

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Kernel, Ukraine’s top vegetable oil producer, has placed 7-year Eurobonds at 6.75% – 105 basis points below the yield for a sovereign bond. Deemed a better risk than the country it operates in, Kernel placed $300 million worth of Eurobonds last Tuesday. By contrast, Naftogaz, the state energy company, aborted a Eurobond sale last Monday, saying the offered yield of 8.95% was too high.

The National Bank of Ukraine decided to keep the prime rate at 6%, extending a 5-month run as the lowest rate in Ukraine’s post-Soviet history. The bank’s Board said: “Maintaining a soft monetary policy is aimed at supporting the economic recovery and achieving the inflation target.” According to the bank’s posted rate curve, the prime rate could rise to 7.5% by the end of next year.

Central bank forecasts:

  • Ukraine’s GDP will shrink by 6% this year and grow by 4.2% next year.
  • Inflation will end this year at 4.1% and rise to 6.5% next year.
  • International reserves will end this year at $29.1 billion, then rise next year to $29.5 billion – assuming IMF disbursements resume.
  • Public and publicly guaranteed debt is now at 63% of GDP. Starting next year, it will decline by 2-3 percentage points annually.

Rail cargo was up 3.5% yoy for July-September, an indicator of a summer recovery from the recession. In August, cargo carried by Ukrzaliznytsia was up 10.3% yoy, reports the Center for Transportation Strategies, drawing on figures from the state railroad. The largest freight carrier in the nation, UZ carried 198 million tons through August of this year.

Bucking the world recession, MHP, Ukraine’s largest poultry producer, increased exports by 37% in the third quarter yoy. Overall, the company reports, its chicken meat sales are up 2% through September, “mainly due to a significant increase in exports in the third quarter of 2020 – by 37% YoY to 108.47 thousand tons due to increased sales primarily in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa).” Founded in 1998 by Yuriy Kosiuk, MHP is now the second largest poultry producer in Europe, according to WattPoultry.com. The largest is Netherlands-based Louis Dreyfus Company, or LDC.

A protégé of Maxim Nefyodov is the new head of Customs. Yevgeny Yentis, former deputy head of Customs for Digital Development and Transformation, previously worked with Nefyodov setting up ProZorro, the award winning online tendering and auction system. Nefyodov was pushed out as head of Customs last May because Zelenskiy was unhappy that he had not ended smuggling after six months on the job.

Half a million Ukrainians pay social security taxes in Poland, according to Bankier, a Polish business news site.  Gertruda Uścińska, president of Poland’s Social Insurance Administration, or ZUS, says 750,000 Ukrainians pay for state health insurance. Poland’s Main Statistical Office said that at the end of 2019 about 1.3 million Ukrainians lived in Poland. Uścińska says the number of foreigners in Poland’s social security system dipped by 10% in the spring, due to corona controls. But, she says: “In September we exceeded the level from February. We have already made up for losses.” Ukrainians make of 75% of the foreigners working in Poland, she said.

Through August, remittances of Ukrainian labor migrants were down by 11% yoy, to $7.7 billion, reports the National Bank of Ukraine. In August, Ukrainians sent home $906 million, down from $1 billion a month last year. This year, the transfer channels are: banks – 41%; informal – 35%; and international payment systems – 24%.

Marketing to migrant workers and students, FlixBus starts three new bus routes from Ukraine to Central Europe on Nov. 5 – two to Poland and one to the Czech Republic. One line goes Kyiv to Warsaw to Szczecin, on Poland’s wester border with Germany. Another goes from Chernvitsi to Warsaw. The third goes from Lviv to Ostrava, on Czech border with Poland. One year after starting operations in Ukraine, the Germany-based bus company operates routes from 16 Ukrainian cities to 48 cities in six EU countries. Michal Leman, the regional director, says the most popular routes are: Lviv-Krakow, Lviv-Prague, and Kyiv-Prague.

Radisson is entering Odesa, rebranding the existing Hotel Milano on Derybasivska Street as Radisson Hotel City Centre Odesa. With the addition of this 127-room property, the Radisson Group will have eight hotels and 1,445 rooms in operation and under development in Ukraine. Marco Sartori, CEO of the group that owns the hotel, said: “Strong demand has accelerated the growth of the local hotel sector in recent years, but the presence of a leading hotel operator capable of offering high standards in terms of quality and service sets a new benchmark for all travelers visiting this beautiful city.”

  • Bank Reformer Demoted, Former PrivatBank Owner Sues to Get his Bank Back
  • Corona Forces Cabinet of Ministers to Move to Zoom
  • Retail Sales Defy Recession
  • Nova Poshta Rides E-Commerce Surge
  • UIA Offers Fuselage Branding

Kateryna Rozhkova, the last major leader of the central bank team that closed 100 insolvent banks during the 2015-2017 banking cleanup, has been stripped of her powers to regulate banks. The National Bank of Ukraine Board made the move Tuesday, apparently a compromise step in face of pressure from the IMF and Western Ambassadors to keep her at the bank. Kyrylo Shevchenko, the new central bank Governor, takes over banking supervision responsibilities from Rozhkova. She is now in charge of consumer credit protection and the central bank’s pension fund.

Unian news agency summarized: “The NBU Board took from Rozhkova’s subordination six key departments for supervision of the banking market and transferred to her three divisions that do not play a significant role in the regulation of banks.”

Timothy Ash, who followed the bank cleanup five years ago, writes from London: The problem with Rozhkova’s demotion is that it sends a clear message that the 2015-17 banking reforms were somehow erroneous or at fault. It’s not a vote of confidence in her or those banking reforms. And I think it sends a general message to reformers in government that your efforts in enacting difficult and unpopular reforms will not be backed/supported by your superiors.”

Gennadiy Bogolyubov, former co-owner of PrivatBank, the largest bank affected by Rozhkova, has filed four lawsuits in Kyiv’s economic courts contesting the bank’s 2016 nationalization, NV news site reported. These are the first suits against the nationalization by Bogolyubov, who traditionally takes a lower profile than his flamboyant business partner, Ihor Kolomoisky.

The central bank Board is expected to keep the prime rate unchanged at 6%, according to a Reuters poll of analysts. Of 15 polled, 13 predicted no change. Two predicted a cut to 5.5%. The National Bank of Ukraine has kept the rate unchanged for its last two policy reviews. Inflation in September was only 2.3%. But rising gas prices and a weakening hryvnia may push up inflation in coming weeks, tempering the bank’s ability to lower rates. In September, gas prices jumped 18% over August. Reduced grain exports and a stalled IMF program weaken the national currency.

More fallout from Naftogaz pulling its $500 million Eurobond placement at the start of a road show. Concorde Capital’s Alexander Paraschiy writes: “In our view, Naftogaz’s decision to put off the deal looks logical. As natural gas prices are rising, the company has a chance to improve its P&L in 2H20. Meanwhile, Ukraine will have a chance to secure another IMF tranche and reduce its sovereign risk. If so, Naftogaz may have a new window for a bond placement at a better rate in 1H21.”

With new coronavirus cases hitting a record 6,719 Wednesday, the Cabinet of Ministers next week shifts its weekly meeting to online, Prime Minister Shmygal said at yesterday’s meeting. Separately, Tetiana Hryshchenko, Servant of the People Rada member, has filed a bill proposing cancellation of the second round of local elections, scheduled for Nov. 15. The latest political figure to fall ill with coronavirus is Volodymyr Lytvyn, a former member of parliament who was twice chairman of the Rada in the 2000.

The government is likely to tighten hygiene restrictions, notably fines for not wearing masks, reports Obozrevatel. The news site quotes one ‘government source’ saying: “To close businesses, like in the spring, that certainly will not happen. It is not even discussed.”

Through September, retail sales are up 6.7% compared to the first nine months of last year, reports the State Statistics Service. The biggest growth regions were: Kyiv +17%; Zaporizhia +14%; and Chernihiv +12%. The biggest losers were two areas hit by strict coronavirus lockdowns: Zakarpattia -7% and Chernivtsi – 1%.

E-commerce is growing faster in Ukraine than in the rest of Eastern Europe, according to new research by Euromonitor International. During the first half of this year, e-commerce sales in Ukraine grew by 45% yoy, compared 36% for Eastern Europe. In Ukraine, e-commerce now accounts for 8% of sales. In Eastern Europe this figure is 10%. Grocery e-commerce has doubled this year in Ukraine. Maria Milashevich, a Euromonitor consultant, told a webinar last week that 55% of respondents to a company survey said the Covid pandemic has forever changed shopping and e-commerce will continue to grow.

In Ukraine’s beauty business, the e-commerce portion of beauty product sales has jumped by 55% this year, Elyzaveta Timenko, Market Insight manager for L’Oréal Ukraine, told a Franco-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce conference on consumer trends last week. The e-commerce slice rose from 8.7% last year, to 13.6% for the first half of 2020. Last year, the growth rate was 30%.

Riding the wave of e-commerce, Nova Poshta has expanded its branch network this year by 22%, reaching 7,145. The package delivery service now has 4,000 branches in villages. “In 2020, despite the quarantine, Nova Poshta expanded its network,” says company CEO Alexander Bulba. “We focused on small towns and villages…On average, the company opened five branches a day, four of which – in villages where the company was not previously represented.”

Nova Poshta is about to open its fourth high speed sorting center, in Kharkiv. Costing €10 million the new sorting center uses Dutch Vanderlande equipment and is capable of sorting 15,000 packages an hour. In the last two years, the privately-owned delivery service has opened high speed sorting centers in Kyiv, Khmelnytskyi and Lviv.

Nova Poshta’s deliveries jumped by 35% during the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2019. With much of the first half coinciding with the lockdown, a popular new service was drug delivery – 82,000 in three months. Overall, Nova Poshta delivered 128 million parcels in the first half of this year.

El Al resumed flights on Monday between Tel Aviv and Kyiv Boryspil. Initially, the flights will be only three times a week. For now, Israel does not allow inbound tourism.  Although Israel has one quarter of Ukraine’s population, its number of Covid cases is just below Ukraine’s total of 306,649. After undergoing a severe lockdown in September, Israel saw its infection peak on Oct. 1. It is now on a par with Ukraine’s.

Due to mounting EU coronavirus controls, UIA is postponing to the end of November the re-launch of its flights from Kyiv Boryspil to Brussels, Dusseldorf and Prague, the airline reports. Due to the Armenia-Azerbaijan war, the Ukrainian carrier is extending until Nov. 13 its suspension of flights to Baku and Yerevan.

UIA is on track to carry 2 million passengers this year, one quarter the 8 million carried last year. From January through September, the airline carried 1.45 million passengers, the airline reports. Transit passengers, mainstays of the airline’s hub and spoke strategy, have plummeted to 22% in September, down from 50% last year.

To make money, UIA is turning its Boeings into flying billboards. On Nov. 5, the airline will auction off rights to paint signs on the fuselages of its planes. For a three months of ‘fuselage branding,bidding starts at $70,000. UIA will not accept ads from competing airlines or tour operators. UIA says: “We are always open to new ideas and cool partnership projects.”

  • Naftogaz withdraws $500 Million Eurobond Offer
  • Hryvnia Bond Rates Rise Before Central Bank Rate Review
  • ’Free Economic Zone’ Planned for Donbas
  • Road Building to Expand Next Year

Naftogaz unexpectedly withdrew its $500 million Eurobond offering, at the end of the first day of a roadshow organized by Citibank. “International investors are increasingly concerned about the political and economic situation in the country,” Peter van Driel, Naftogaz Group CFO, said in an official statement after the placement was postponed.

Van Driel blamed “unproven accusations of the State Audit Office.” Two weeks ago, leaks from this office indicated that the state oil and gas company may have failed to pay $2.6 billion in taxes last year. The Naftogaz Supervisory Board’s Audit and Risk Committee issued a rebuttal. Interfax-Ukraine posted an interview with Oleksiy Liubchenko, Head of the State Tax Service. He estimated Naftogaz’ unpaid tax bill at $1.2 billion.

Echoing feedback from London and New York, Van Driel said: “Investors also reminded that they are closely monitoring corporate governance reform, as it is a critical factor for the development of investment in the country’s economy.” On Oct. 12, one week before the roadshow, Amos Hochstein, the lone American on the Supervisory Board, quit. “The company has been forced to spend endless amounts of time combating political pressure and efforts by oligarchs to enrich themselves through questionable transactions,” he wrote in a parting blast posted in the Kyiv Post. “[An] indicator that corruption is rearing its ugly head in Ukraine unfolded this week…The old tactic of using prosecutors and auditors for intimidation and retaliation is back.”

The morning after the deal was postponed, van Driel was quoted by InterfaxUkraine saying: “One incident – you can digest two – it’s already difficult, [but] when there is a whole sequence of different incidents, the market votes with its own feet…All this bad news influenced the decision of international investors.”

Timothy Ash writes from London: “Pretty embarrassing that the Finance Ministry/ Tax Authority seem to be in dispute with a big state-owned enterprise…All this breaking around the time of the planned new issuance was pretty embarrassing.”

By raising rates, the Finance Ministry managed to nearly match the volume of government hryvnia bonds sold at auction, compared to the week before. At this week’s auction, investors bought 5.7 billion hryvnia, compared to 6 billion hryvnia last week, the Ministry posted on Facebook. For 3-month bonds, the cutoff rate was raised 100 basis points, to 7.3%. For 1-year bonds, the rate was raised 300 basis points, to 10.3%. In an auction of 1-year dollar denominated bonds, the government sold $53 million at 3.5% the same yield as at the last auction, one month ago.

120 Rada members from the ruling Servant of the People party traveled to the front line areas of Donetsk and Luhansk, an effort by President Zelenskiy to galvanize political support for his proposal to create a “free economic zone” in the Ukraine-controlled Donbas. Addressing the Rada, Zelenskiy said: “We need the Strategy of economic development of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which will include tax and customs preferences, insurance of military-political risks for investors, arbitration according to international standards. Work on it has already begun.”

Only one third of Ukrainians back a “free economic zone” in the Donbas, according to a nationwide poll completed by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology. One third of the 505 respondents said they did not know what such a zone would be. Others may have memories an earlier experiment in the Donbas during the Yanukovych years, an effort that resulted in widespread tax evasion and smuggling. In the new poll, the biggest support was in Ukraine’s east – 46%.

To make Ukraine more attractive to Ukrainians living in the Russia-controlled areas, Zelenskiy said the government is building “convenient, modern checkpoints” at the lines of control. He added: “We are fighting for the youth in these territories, for their intelligence. Starting from this year, children from Crimea and [occupied Donbas] can go to all higher education institutions in Ukraine and study here for free.”

Ukraine’s daily number of new coronavirus infections may rise to 8,000-10,000 a day in November, Ukrainian health minister Maksym Stepanov warned. President Zelenskiy said he would have to impose a strict quarantine if daily numbers go over 9,500. The current average is near 6,000. Zelenskiy blamed local officials who “sabotage government decisions and conduct concerts for thousands of people on City Day. Be aware that there may be more votes for you in your region. But the number of sick and dead will be your fault.”

To help the economy recover from Covid, Zelenskiy favors a tax amnesty and new taxes on capital withdrawals from Ukraine. He told the Rada: “It is time to put an end to this issue – and I am ready to do it.”

Ukraine will spend a record $5.5 billion repairing and rebuilding 7,000 km of roads next year – a 17% increase in kilometers and money over this year, the Finance Ministry reports on Facebook. „The goal is to create a network of four lane divided highways connecting all 24 regional centers,” says Alex Tava, deputy Finance Minister. He said: “This will allow you to safely move at a speed of 130 km/h on highways.” Zelenskiy told the Rada: “We are stitching Ukraine together…with roads and bridges.”

 

  • Ukraine Braces for Return of Corona Controls
  • Collateral Damage: Weddings
  • Donbas is Less Isolated: 2 New Crossings for Luhansk, Cargo Jumps at Donetsk Port
  • China to Supply Traffic Surveillance Cameras for Kyiv
  • Ukraine Quietly Sells Air Defense Missiles to Turkey

With fresh coronavirus controls sweeping across the EU this week, Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank warns that last summer’s economic recovery “is losing momentum.” Instead, the eurozone’s recovery now looks “uneven, uncertain and incomplete,” she says in an interview published yesterday in Le Monde newspaper. The EU, as a bloc, is Ukraine’s largest trading partner.

Ukrzaliznytsia calls for keeping the trains rolling. The state railroad, the nation’s largest employer, posted a statement on Facebook saying it “advocates for maximum preservation of the passenger movement in quarantine conditions…Stopping passenger railway combinations will have a highly negative consequences for the national economy, as population mobility will significantly worsen.”

Ukraine’s Health Ministry urged employers to expand remote working. “You don’t have to gather people unless necessary,” Deputy Health Minister Iryna Mykychak, told reporters in an online briefing. “You don’t need to organize offline meetings, gatherings in face-to-face format.”

Pacing the EU’s second wave, Ukraine’s daily new infections tripled since Sept. 1, hitting 6,410 last Saturday. As measured by infections per 1 million inhabitants, Ukraine, with its estimated population of 37.3 million, has an infection level of 8,140. In the region, that is half the infection rates of Moldova and the Czech Republic, according to the Worldometer tracking site. Ukraine is also below Romania – 9,524 – and Russia – 9,697. But Ukraine’s infection rate is far worse than Poland – 4,843 – and Hungary – 4,949.

The death rate from coronavirus is 2% in Ukraine, Viktor Liashko, the nation’s chief sanitary doctor, tells RFE/RL. Worldwide, the death rate has dropped to 3%, from 7%, largely better medical protocols adopted over the last six months.  Over the last seven months, 5,673 people in Ukraine have died of Covid-19. With numbers expected to grow this fall, Yulia Tymoshenko, a Covid survivor, said she has united all Rada factions behind a bill to create a national task force, headed by President Zelenskiy, to combat the pandemic.

Worsening Ukraine’s bleak demographic situation, marriages have dropped by 27% during the pandemic, RFE/RL reports, citing Justice Ministry figures. From March 12 to Oct. 10, marriages dropped by 38,786 yoy. The 2020 figure was 107,069, far below the 145,855 recorded during the same time last year. Separately, during the first half of this year in Ukraine, two people died for each baby born.

With the government in breach of a law passed in July to pay overdue electricity bills to solar and wind producers, the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine is urging the Ministries of Finance and Energy to agree with the Rada on the size of a government bond to pay this debt. Despite the government’s commitments made last summer, the Guarantee Buyer paid only for only 28% of the electricity it received in September. With DTEK Renewables owed $100 million, the overall unpaid power bill could hit $1 billion at the end of this year.

A second crossing between Ukraine-controlled and Russia-controlled Luhansk will open in two weeks in Shchastia, a city on the north bank of the Severodonetsk River. A city with a pre-war population of 13,000, Shshastia has retained its economic importance as it is home to Luhansk’s only power plant. Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation announced on Facebook that the pedestrian only checkpoint will open Nov. 10. It will have the capacity to handle 10-15,000 people a day.

A third Luhansk control point is to open later in November at Zolote, Oleksiy Reznikov, minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories, told the Washington-Kyiv program. Due to roads and the military topography, the drive from Stanytsia Luhansk, the only crossing between the two zones of Luhansk region, to Zolote can take three hours. In March 2017, Kyiv banned trade between Russia-controlled portion of the Donbas.

In a healthy sign for Ukraine-controlled Donbas, Mariupol, Donetsk region’s only port, reports that cargo is up by 16.5% for the first nine months of this year, compared to the same January-September period last year, Exports – 84% of handled cargo – were up 17.4%, to 4.5 million tons. If trends hold up, the port could handle 7.5 million tons this year. That would still be well below its capacity of 17 million tons.

To ease Kyiv’s traffic jams, China’s Hikvision will supply the city with 19 cameras for an artificial intelligence-based road traffic management system, reports ITC.ua.  Connected to a program for storing and analyzing traffic information, the system is to optimize traffic flow by controlling traffic lights. Created by a Chinese state company that specializes in surveillance, the system will work 24 hours a day recording and identifying cars by make, model, and color, providing time stamps and addresses. According to tender documents, Kyiv Pastrans Traffic Management Center will pay $280,000 for the system.

Marking last Monday’s opening of Zaporizhia’s new air terminal, SkyUp airlines announced that it will launch flights next spring between Zaporizhia and Batumi, Larnaca and Prague. Assuming the coronavirus pandemic eases, Wizz Air plans to fly next spring between Zaporizhia and Budapest, Dortmund, Gdańsk, Krakow, Milan-Malpensa, Vienna, Vilnius and Wroclaw. SkyUp started flying between Zaporizhia and Kyiv Boryspil. Motor Sich starts flying between Zaporizhia and Kyiv Sikorsky.

Ukraine has delivered to Turkey a S-125 Pecora land to air missile system, reports Defence Turk news site. The sale, announced with little fanfare by Vadym Nozdry, CEO of Ukrspetsexport, was largely overlooked by the signing of a Ukraine-Turkey military deal and talks about joint production of missiles, drones and transport aircraft. The Pecora missiles were developed by the Soviet Union in the 1960s. They are not compatible with Turkey’s US-made MIM-23B HAWK air defense system. Defence Turk Editor-in-Chief Fatih Mehmet Küçük speculates the Pecora are destined for Turkey’s military campaigns abroad. Turkey currently arms combatants in Syria, Lybia and Azerbaijan.

  • ASAP: Turkey-Ukraine Free Trade Pact
  • Turkey’s Giant Black Sea Gas Discovery Could Send Gas to Ukraine
  • Danish Firm Builds Big Furniture Plant in Rivne
  • Zaporizhia’s New Air Terminal Opens
  • Fall Corona Outlook Is Bleak

A free trade pact between Turkey and Ukraine should be completed “as soon as possible,” Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Ukrainian President Zelenskiy said in a joint statement. Noting that talks restarted last month, Zelenskiy told Turkish news agency Demirören about the deal: “We are already at the finish line. I hope that the Agreement will be signed as soon as possible.”

Despite the corona recession, bilateral trade during the first half of this year grew by 1.7% yoy hitting $2.3 billion. The Presidents said they want to see the trade his $10 billion. Such a doubling would pole vault Turkey from Ukraine’s 5th largest trading partner to second place, after China.

Arms deals were the concrete points of agreement. Engine construction, development of air defense systems, joint production of a “corvette” class ship – the potential for cooperation is huge,” Zelenskiy told Demirören. “We are definitely interested in joint production,” he said of Turkey’s military drones. “We are buying these products. Ukraine, in turn, produces engines for drones. So launching a joint venture is a natural step.”  Defense Ministry official accompanying Zelenskiy visited Baykar Savunma, Turkey’s main military drone producer.

The two sides also discussed joint production of Ukraine’s AN-178 short range military transport aircraft. Oleksandr Los, head of Antonov visited Turkey in August. “As for the Antonov aircraft, we are certainly pleased with the interest in this enterprise,” Zelenskiy told Demirören. “It is just as logical that in the field of aircraft construction, we can do a lot together with our Turkish friends.” Turkey pledged to provide $26 million to help Ukraine meet military needs.

With Ukraine planning to privatize several more regional power plans next year, Batu Aksoy, CEO of Aksoy Ventures met with officials from Ukraine’s Economic Development Ministry. Aksoy’s unit Turcas Petrol and Germany’s RWE AG own and operate an 800 MW natural gas fired power plant.

President Erdoğan announced that Turkey’s giant Black Sea gas field is 405 billion cubic meters, enough to make Turkey a gas exporter. Located off the coast of Ereğli, 200 km east of Istanbul, the Sakarya field is Turkey’s largest gas discovery. The new estimate makes the Sakarya gas field one quarter larger than when it was first announced, two months ago.

In Istanbul, President Zelenskiy stressed the geopolitical significance of this find. He told Demirören: “I would like to congratulate the Turkish people on the confirmation of large reserves of natural gas in the Black Sea. The development of this field will significantly change the balance of power in the region – for the benefit of the Republic of Turkey and your friends.”

Hjort Knudsen, a major Danish furniture maker, announces it will build a plant in Rivne, with an initial €11 million investment designed to employ approximately 1,000 workers. Located a 3-hour drive from the Polish border, Rivne has extensive forests spreading north to the Belarus border. “Hjort Knudsen is one of the biggest suppliers of upholstered furniture to furniture stores in many European countries,” the company says on its website. “All production takes place at Hjort Knudsen’s own European manufacturing plants and is performed by 2,300 skilled employees.”

A fire has burned almost half of Europe’s largest ski manufacturer, in Mukachevo, Zakarpattia. Tuesday’s three-hour, pre-dawn fire, burned 9,000 square meters of the production facilities and warehouse of Fischer Sports GmbH, reports Industrialfireworld. Austria-based Fischer produced 85% of its skis at the Mukachevo plant. Fischer says it accounts for one quarter of the international ski market.

Il Dong Chang, the Ukraine representative of Hyundai Corp. discussed options for high speed trains with Infrastructure Minister Vladyslav Krykliy. Hyundai Rotem HRCS2 trains run on Ukrzaliznytsia’s InterCity+ lines, routes where trains are to travel at a minimum of 90 km/hour.

Zaporizhia airport’s new steel and glass airport terminal opened at the 19th of October, the culmination of a $40 million investment to become the leading airport of Ukraine’s southeast. Flights to Kyiv and international flights started later last week. Before coronavirus, these airlines served Zaporizhia: LOT Polish, Motor Sich, Pegasus, SkyUp, Turkish, UIA and Wizz Air. The new 12,000 square meter terminal can serve 400 passengers an hour. Zaporizhia is in a race to win the loyalties of regional travelers. One hour to the north, rival Dnipro airport is starting a two-year project to build a new runway and terminal.

With cold weather forcing people inside and reduced ventilation, new coronavirus infections could jump to 10,000 a day in November, from the current daily average of 6,000, warns a new report by the Kyiv School of Economics. If coronavirus runs unchecked during the traditional flu season, Ukraine’s cumulative death toll could quadruple to 20,000 by the end of the year, warns Pavlo Kovtonyuk, head of the School’s Health Economics Center.

To blunt this second wave, Ukraine should triple testing, to 100,000 a day, recommends Kovtonyuk. A coordinated two-week shutdown could brake the coronavirus spread.

In response, Kateryna Glazkova, executive director of the Union of Ukrainian Entrepreneurs, told Interfax-Ukaine: “A complete lockdown is not an option. It will not stop the incidence rate statistics, but it will kill the economy, which is already on its back. Many small and micro-businesses have already closed their doors. We have a huge ‘Covid fund.’ What is it spent on? On the roads. That is important, but now other priorities are hospitals and medicine It is necessary to provide free access for people to personal protective equipment.”

Corona virus updates:

Medical students and recent graduates may be called up to help overworked doctors in coronavirus wards, Health Minister Maksym Stepanov said in a televised briefing. Saturday morning, a record 109 deaths were reported for the previous 24 hours.

Better red than dead. Defying the Health Ministry’s ‘red’ label, Kharkiv, Poltava and Chernihiv mayors say they will not stop public transport or close restaurants and cafes.

Mykola Tyschchenko, Deputy Chairman of the Servant of the People faction of the Rada, has fallen ill with coronavirus, he wrote on Facebook. With many members battling coronavirus, it is unclear when the Rada will resume is plenary sessions.

Dmitriy Stuzhuk, a 33-year-old fitness coach and social media influencer who belittled Covid-19, has died of the virus. Before he died, he wrote his 1 million followers: “I was one who thought that Covid does not exist. Until I got sick.”

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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