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  • GDP Jump Sparks Foreign Interest
  • EU-Ukraine Energy Bridge: a Bridge to Nowhere?
  • At Customs, Watch out for Mutants
  • Bankers: Hryvnia Will Remain Strong Through Year-End
  • Flights Announced to Ski Mountains

Ukraine’s unexpected 4.6% second-quarter economic growth number triggered two optimistic Bloomberg reports: As Europe Struggles, Ukraine’s Economy Heads for an Upswing and Ukraine’s Economy Enjoys a Hopeful Moment by Leonid Bershidsky. In the first article,  Daryna Krasnolutska, Bloomberg Ukraine bureau chief, writes that Viktor Szabo, investment director at Aberdeen Asset Management PLC in London, “expects a ‘bold’ program with the International Monetary Fund to be agreed on once a new government is in place next month.”

“Ukraine can repeat Poland’s economic success” headlines the Ukrainian service of Voice of America. The article cited tweets sent out Thursday by four foreign economists, all prompted by the second quarter growth jump. Timothy Ash tweeted that Ukraine could be approaching its Poland moment, writing from London: “Given the low start, there are no reasons why Ukraine could not reach a similar level of growth under the right combination of decisions.”

Benjamin Hilgenstock, an economist at Washington’s Institute for International Finance, said it is time to update the old 3% forecast for Ukraine’s 2019 GDP growth, wrting: “Even if growth were zero for the rest of the year (q/q), full-year growth would reach around 3%.”

Anders Aslund, the Swedish economist at the Atlantic Council, tweeted: The time has come for the Ukrainian economy to grow rapidly: inflation has stabilized with minimal budget deficits and tight monetary policy…Finally, we see growth, but it is important to protect property rights.”

President Zelenskiy’s recent 2-day trip to Turkey generated real business interest in investing in Ukraine, Burak Pehlivan, chairman of the International Turkish Ukrainian Businessmen Association, writes in the Kyiv Post. Oleksiy Honcharuk, deputy head of Presidential Administration, conducted marathon meetings in Istanbul with Turkish executives making “a nice impression by his positive energy, dynamism, and frankness.“ Pehlivan predicts: “There is no doubt that we are going to see many Turkish investments in Ukraine in the upcoming period, mainly in the fields of infrastructure, agriculture, tourism, and energy.”

A French-Polish-Swedish consortium has won a tender for a €243 million contract to build an EU-Ukraine ‘energy bridge’ between Ukraine’s Khmelnitskyi Nuclear Power Plant and Poland. Due for completion by the end of 2022, the project would modernize an existing, but mothballed 700 km, 750 kV transmission line between Khmelnytskyi and Rzeszow, Poland. The program would also modernize the power plant’s two functioning reactors, raising their electricity generating capacity to 3,200 gigawatts. Electricity sales to the EU would finance the completion of two more reactors at the plant. Companies in the consortium are: Westinghouse Electric Sweden AB, Poland’s Polenergia International S.àr.l., and France’s EDF Trading Limited.

This ‘Energy Bridge’ will not happen,” Andriy Gerus, President Zelenskiy’s representative to the Cabinet of Ministers, writes on Facebook. “If a business wants to sell electricity to Europe, it is not necessary to suck blood from state facilities. First, build a new generation facility, and then export electricity from it – in that sequence.” With Ukraine facing electricity shortages in the 2020s, he writes, the country cannot afford to export half of the power production from Khmelnytskyi.

Ukrainian farmers need to buy at least 40,000 new tractors and 5,000 combine harvesters each year to increase productivity, Deputy Agriculture Minister Viktor Sheremety told representatives of two South Korean tractor makers – Daedong Industrial Co. Ltd and Hyundai Corporation. A private farmland market would allow Ukrainian farmers to put up farmland as collateral for bank loans to buy modern farm equipment. Last year, Ukraine imported 92,900 tractors in and in 2017 86,400, reports the State Statistics Service.

Grain exports are off to a strong start, with farmers exporting 5.6 million tons or 41% more than this time last year. The Agriculture Ministry figures are for the first six weeks of the marketing year, which started July 1. During the last marketing year, Ukraine exported a record 50 million tons of grain and flour.

Importers and exporters who face customs officials demanding bribes are invited to use Facebook to message Maxim Nefyodov, the new head of the State Customs Service. “If your customs officer requires a bribe, write to me directly,” he writes on Facebook. “If some people run around the regions and say Nefyodov needs to collect money, they are crooks. Hand them over to me. If people say they’ve agreed with the Zelenskiy people to monitor customs clearance, they are mutants. Hand them over.”

Countering farm groups warning of a harvest season railroad collapse, Ukrzaliznytsia CEO Yevhen Kravtsov says that since July 1 the state railroad has carried 4.3 million tons of grain, 25% more than during the same period last year. Last week, the railroad started using ProZorro to auction space on trains to the Black Sea ports. By paying this premium, grain companies get guaranteed delivery times at ports.

Riding the world runup in iron ore prices, Ukraine export 8% more iron in the first half of this year, but earned 29% more than in the first half of last year. During the first half of this year, Ukraine exported 23 million tons of iron, earning $2.9 billion, report the State Fiscal Service. Top buyers were: China – 27%; Poland -14%; and Czech Republic – 10.5%.

The hryvnia will remain strong through the end of the year, predict three Ukrainian banking executives interviewed by Interfax-Ukraine. The bumper grain crop, the influx of foreign money into government bonds and prepayment of most of this winter’s gas add up to a strong and stable hryvnia. Oleg Kurinnoy, treasury director at Credit Dnepr Bank, believes that “devaluation, if any, will be insignificant.” He forecasts a year-end rate of UAH 25.5-265/$ 1, only slightly weaker than the current rate – UAH25.26/$1.

Taunting a rival, Ryanair will fly between Odesa and Budapest, home to Wizz Air. In addition to the Hungary flight, Ryanair starts on Oct. 28-30 flights from Odesa to Berlin-Tagel, and five Polish cities. The following weekend, Nov. 1-3, Wizz Air starts flights from Odesa to Budapest, Berlin Schönefeld, Bratislava and three Polish cities.

Looking forward to the ski season, SkyUp Airline starts flying in December between Kyiv Boryspil and Turin, the northern Italian city close to the Alps. Also aimed at skiers, SkyUp starts flights in December between Kyiv and Poprad, the Slovak city at the base of Tatra mountains. 

  • GDP Jumps 4.6% in Q2
  • Food Exports up on All Fronts
  • Tenders to Go Up for Black Sea Port Concessions
  • Demand Dwindles for Hryvnia Bonds

Registering the strongest quarterly growth in almost a decade, Ukraine’s economy was up by 4.6% y-o-y in the April-June period of this year, reports the State Statistics Service. Although Ukraine’s economy has been growing for the last 14 quarters, Q2 growth is the highest since the start of 2011. The growth spurt was fed by several factors: record grain exports, a jump in iron ore prices and a surge in consumer confidence and retail spending following the 73% April 21 presidential vote for Volodymyr Zelenskiy. First-quarter growth was 2.5%.

Ukraine’s foreign trade deficit hit $1.6 billion during the first half of this year, two thirds greater than during the same period last year. Exports of goods and services increased by 6%, to $29.5 billion. Imports increased by 8%, to $31.1 billion.

Ukraine’s food trade with the EU increased by 23% during the first half of this year, compared to the first half of last year. Although EU quotas on exports of nine food products from Ukraine were filled by mid-July, Ukraine is expected to have another record year for food exports to the EU, predicts Nikolai Pugachev, deputy director of the Institute of Agricultural Economics.

Cross-border trade with Poland is so intense that by mid-August Ukrainian trucking companies have used up almost all their Polish permit quotas for the entire year, warns the European Business Association. In general, Poland and Ukraine split the permits 50-50. But Polish companies are short of drivers and do not want to come to Ukraine. The EBA appeals to President Zelenskiy to meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda and “contribute to solving this problem in the long term.”

Ukraine’s exports of meat and poultry were up 20%, to $364 million, in the first half of this year, compared to the same period last year. Saudi Arabia has replaced Russia as the largest importer, taking 21%, according to the Institute of Agricultural Economics.  Big buyers are: the Netherlands – 15%; Slovakia – 9%; Belarus, Azerbaijan, and Iraq – 5% each.

Ukrainian farmers should see another record year in exports of fruits and berries, predicts Pro-Consulting. During the first half of this year, exports were up 16% to $116 million. Last year, exports grew by 17% to $229 million. This year’s favorable weather is offset by the emigration of pickers to Poland, which is raising labor costs in the Ukrainian countryside.

Unchecked uses of pesticides kill 40,000 bee colonies in Ukraine every year, costing beekeepers almost $5 million in annual losses, says Ukraine’s Beekeepers Union. Despite these losses, Ukraine increased its honey exports by 20% – to $41 million – during the first five months of this year compared to the same Jan.-May period last year. After hitting record export levels in 2017, exports dropped by one-quarter last year, partly due to the bee dieoff and partly due to low prices stemming from honey dumping on world markets.

The European Investment Bank is to loan Ukraine $250 million, largely for the construction of biomass-based energy generators for Kernel, the nation’s largest producer and exporter of sunflower oil. The Cabinet of Ministers voted to authorize Finance Minister Oksana Markarova to sign the loan letter.

Nibulon, the nation’s largest food exporter, is building a new 4,000-ton grain elevator and oilseeds storage facility by railroad tracks in Khmylnik, Vinnytsia region. Located 65 km northwest of Vinnytsia city, the complex is the company’s latest investment in logistics, notably the creation of a small fleet of grain hopper cars and of barges and ports to move grains and oilseeds down the Dnipro to the Black Sea.

Tenders are to be announced this month for concessions to operate the Black Sea ports of Kherson and Olbia (Mykolaiv region). On Wednesday, the Cabinet of Ministers authorized the Infrastructure Ministry to post the tenders. President Zelenskiy, on a visit to Turkey, invited Turkish companies to participate in the tenders, predicting the new Rada, controlled by his party, will pass the concession law. the vowed to win approval of the concession law. Volodymyr Omelyan, the outgoing Infrastructure Minister, wrote on Facebook: “We previously received more than 20 applications from powerful foreign and Ukrainian companies.”

Ukraine sold hryvnia bonds worth $78 million as demand fell below supply and yields stabilized at 16.43% for two-year bonds, at 16.16% for one-year bonds, and at 16.47% for six-month bonds. Demand for UAH bonds on Tuesday was UAH 2.3 billion, less than half last week’s level of UAH 5.4 billion, and well below July’s weekly average of UAH 12 billion.

Concorde Capital’s Evgeniya Akhtyrko writes: “It looks like the traditional August lull came to Ukraine’s local bond market…We expect the activity at the primary bond market to be relatively low through the end of this month. The downward movement of interest rates is likely to pause for a moment.”

Peru will buy several Antonov military transport An-178 jets, injecting new life into an aircraft building program that was delayed by the need to replace Russian parts. In the Peruvian tender, Antonov beat the C-295 of Airbus and C-27 Spartan, a joint US-Italy venture. Separately, Ukraine’s Internal Affairs Ministry announced in June that it will buy 13 An-178s for the National Guard and the State Emergency Service.

  • Ze Transport Aide Gives Green Light to Private Freight Trains
  • UZ talks to US for More Locomotives
  • A River of Grain Will Swamp Trains, Trucks and Barges
  • Port Cargo Up 16% This Year

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Private locomotives should be allowed to pull private freight trains down public tracks, argues Vladislav Krikliy, a leading candidate for head of the Rada’s transport committee. “We have no competition, Ukrzaliznytsia is a monopolist,” Krikliy, a 33-year-old economist, tells Gordonua. “Private companies should be given the opportunity to operate the railway, pay rent and provide services.” Last December, the old Rada narrowly rejected a bill to allow private cargo trains. Ukraine’s four EU neighbors – Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland – have private cargo rail companies.

Private Ukrainian companies already have a fleet of 2,500 of their own locomotives, writes Magistral, Ukrzaliznytsia’s in the house news site. About 1,500 of these are shunting locomotives, built for assembling freight trains in rail yards. About 1,000 are certified to make short runs on public tracks, typically to grain elevators. About one-third of UZ’s 3,566 locomotives are shunting locomotives. One-half of UZ’s locomotives, or 1,758, are long haul locomotives. The Center for Transportation Strategies estimates that half of the long haul locomotives are out of service, a figure disputed by UZ CEO Yevhen Kravtsov.

Morgan Williams, president of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, wrote in a recent essay in the Kyiv Post: “Ukraine should allow private companies to own locomotives and operate large commodity trains….The President should recommend, and the Parliament should approve, legislation allowing private companies to invest and participate in the railroad industry. The starting point is to allow private companies to own and operate locomotives to move grain and other commodities on the state railroad system.” UZ, like Naftogaz, seems to be saying: ‘We love the private sector as long as they work for us.’

UZ CEO Kravtsov tells UNIAN news agency that he supports the idea of partial privatization of the state railway, via an IPO or the placement of shares. Concorde Capital’s Paraschiy writes: “Kravtsov’s vision on a possible share placement of Ukrainian Railways is line with the position of the new Ukrainian power brokers that the company is at the top of the list for a possible partial privatization, as voiced in late July by Oleksiy Honcharuk, deputy head of the presidential office and one of the top candidates for the Prime Minister’s position.”

Ukrzaliznytsia is negotiating with Wabtec Corporation (successor company to GE Transportation) to buy up to 40 new diesel locomotives, says Kravtsov. The locomotives would come in 2020. Last March, Ukrzaliznytsia received the last of an order of 30 GE diesel locomotives. In Feb. 2018, UZ signed a framework agreement with GE to buy up to 225 GE locomotives over the next 15 years, at an estimated cost of $1 billion.

Concorde Capital’s Alexander Paraschiy writes: “Ukrainian Railways’ leverage allows the company to expand its orders for new locomotives, while the poor condition of its existing fleet underscores the necessity for such moves.”

Due to a lack of locomotives, “a significant part of the harvest will rot in the fields because it will not be delivered to elevators,” Leonid Kozachenko, president Ukraine’s Agrarian Confederation, writes in Apostrophe. “Losses of farmers can reach 5 million tons of grain and oilseeds. Wheat, barley, buckwheat, whose losses can be up to 1% per day, suffer because they simply cannot be transported” to elevators in time, he writes.

In contrast, Nikolay Gorbachev, president Ukraine’s Grain Association, writes in Obozrevatel: “I don’t believe that we will not be able to take out the grain. We’re sure we will take out absolutely everything.” However, without more UZ locomotives or private freight trains, he warns: “We will live in conditions of constant traffic collapse…If the railroad stops coping, we’ll take trucks.”

Ukraine’s corn crop coming in this month will be another record – 36.5 million tons – forecasts the US Department of Agriculture. The USDA raised its forecast by 7% compared to the earlier estimate. With China stopping purchases of American corn, Ukraine is expected to export 30 million tons, the same amount as last year. The USDA reported in February that ‘sources’ told their office here that 5% of Ukraine’s corn was left to spoil in the fields last fall because there were not enough silos or grain hopper rail wagons. Undeterred, farmers expanded their corn plantings this year by 9%.

Ukraine’s early grain harvest was up 17% Friday, compared to the same day last year. Pushing the early harvest up to 37 million tons, wheat yields are up 10% y-o-y, and barley yields are up 15%. Good weather and more investment improve yields, the Agriculture Ministry says.

Dnipro River cargo is up by 32%, to 5.5 million tons, through July, reports the Sea Ports Administration. As barges get bigger, the actual number of river trips fell to 5,775, down 31% compared to the first seven months of last year. Grain cargo more than doubled, hitting 2.2 million tons. Last year, Dnipro River cargo grew by 22% over 2017.

Pushing the northern limits of Dnipro River shipping, Agrostudio Group, which has silos in Chernihiv region, shipped 1,300 tons of wheat from Stayki port, “the northernmost shipping point of Ukraine,” reports Latifundist news site. Coordinated with Bunge and the Belarussian Shipping Company, the wheat was shipped to Mykolaiv.

Nibulon, the nation’s largest river shipper, is also Ukraine’s largest food exporter. In the marketing year that ended June 30, Nibulon exported company 5.2 million tons of grain and oilseeds – 27% more than in the previous marketing year. With this volume, this Mykolaiv-based company had a 9% of Ukraine’s grain and oilseeds exports. The top export was corn – 2.2 million tons. The top buyer was China – 19% of sales.

In a key economic indicator, Ukraine’s seaports handled 16% more cargo through July than in the first seven months of last year. Grain accounted for one-third of the 85.5 million tons. Grain shipments were up 35% y-o-y. Using ever bigger ships, companies opt for the efficiencies of Ukraine’s largest ports. The three largest grew faster than the national average: Pivdennii +24%, to 28 million tons; Mykolaiv + 23%, to 18 million tons; Chornomorsk +19%, to 14.2 million tons. Odesa was below the national average, growing 14%, to almost 14 million tons.

  • Wind Energy Projects Draw $1 billion in Foreign Investment
  • Ukraine Now in Top 5 for Onshore Wind Investment
  • Electricity Generated by Renewables Doubles This Year
  • Isolated No More, Kherson Renews Road Ties To Crimea, Restores Ferry Service to Turkey and Courts Flights from Europe

Construction is to start this fall on Europe’s second-largest onshore wind farm, located on the Zaporizhia coast of the Sea of Azov. London-based VLC Renewables has reached financial close with LongWing Energy S.C.A. to build the first 98 MW phase of a 500 MW wind farm. If fully built as designed a decade ago, the EuroCape project will be second only in Europe to the 600 MW Fântânele-Cogealac wind farm in Romania.

Eighteen months ago, the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation, or OPIC, approved up to $150 million in financing and up to $250 million in political risk insurance, for the project, which is located 200 km west of the frontlines. GE Energy Financial Services also is investing in the wind farm, which will use 27 GE 3.6 turbines for the first $150 million phase.

Nearby in Zaporizhia, DTEK Renewables is completing this summer, a second, €150 million phase of its Primorskaya Wind Electricity Plant. Due for commissioning next month, the second phase will bring the capacity of Primorskaya up to 200 MW. Funded by a 10-year loan from a consortium of German banks, Primorskaya will use 52 GE 3.8 turbines.

About 75 km west of Primorskaya, Norway’s NBT and France’s Total Eren are financing a €107 million second phase of a 250 MW wind farm. Located on the northern shores of Lake Syvash, the project now has total financing of €262 million. Lenders include: Proparco – €42 million; Black Sea Trade and Development Bank – €30 million; Finnfund and IFU – €15 million each; and the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation – €5 million.

Ukraine ranks fifth in Europe for installing onshore wind electricity capacity in the first half of 2019, according to Wind Europe Wind Owners Association. Of the 19 countries, the ranking is: France – 523 MW; Sweden – 459 MW; Germany – 287 MW; Italy – 286 MW; and Ukraine – 262 MW. Of the 4.9 gigawatts of wind capacity installed in the first half of this year in Europe, 64% for onshore and the rest for offshore.

With €4 billion in renewable energy investments underway in Ukraine this year, renewable energy plants produced nearly twice as much electricity during the first half of this year than in the first half of 2018. Solar, wind, and biogas plants produced, 2.37 billion kWh of electricity, compared to 1.23 billion kWh last year, reports the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry.

In a remote, windswept valley about 10 km south of Belarus, Wind Solar Energy LLC of Kyiv plans to build three wind power farms with a total capacity of 190 MW. Called Lisova, or Forest, the project located 150 km north of Zhytomyr city calls for erecting about 50 wind turbines.

Fifteen Vestas wind turbine blades as tall as 25-story buildings were unloaded last week at the Kherson port of Skadovsk. Imported from Spain, the blades are for Mirna, a 163 MW wind farm under construction by Windcraft-Kalanchak. Powered by 39 Vestas V150 wind turbines, the wind farm is to become the main source of electricity for Kalanchak, a district bordering Crimea. With Russia’s annexation of Crimea five years ago, Kalanchak lost power from its traditional source, the Titan substation.

Also in Kherson, a Franco-Belgian company is building a 110 MW wind farm on the north shore of the Gulf of Dnipro, outside the village of Oleksandrivka. Last month, the EBRD board approved partial funding of the 190 million project. Located 50 km west of Kherson city, the project by Dnipro-Buzka VES LLC is to use 25 German-made Nordex 4.4 MW wind turbines.

In windswept western Ukraine, Vasyl Khmelnitsky’s UDP Renewables plans to build three wind farms in Volyn with a total capacity of 198 MW. Equipped with 44 wind turbines, the wind farms will be in Zaturtsiv, midway between Lutsk and the Polish border. The wind is a new area for UDP Renewables which is building five solar plants in Ukraine this year.

Nearby, Wind Power GI Volyn plans to build a 150 MW wind farm in Ivanychiv, equipped with 50 wind turbines. In Lviv region, the company plans to build a 50 MW wind power farm in Yavoriv, 60 km west of Lviv.

With Kherson attracting hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign investment in renewables, transportation links are starting to catch up.

Kherson airport officials discussed last week with Ryanair officials about Europe’s largest airline flying next summer to Kherson. With flights to Turkey, Egypt and Kyiv, Kherson’s air traffic increased last year by 42%, to 150,000 passengers. Last month, the airport agreed to buy $1 million worth of navigation equipment from France’s Thales. To modernize the terminal, regional officials are debating transferring the operation to a concession. Located only 100 km from Kalanchak crossing, airport officials see Russia-controlled Crimea as part of their passenger catchment area.

To ease road travel to and from Crimea, Kherson region plans to build bus stations by winter at the main two control crossings, Kalanchak and Chonhar. Fulfilling President Zelenskiy’s order to build modern entry and exit points, a pharmacy and medical station opened last week at Kalanchak. Crimean authorities recently started an hourly bus service between Simferopol and Kalanchak.

With residents of both sides adapting to the ‘temporary’ line of control, 347,100 people and 57,819 vehicles crossed between Crimea and Kherson region in July, according to Ukraine’s Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons. With a July a big vacation month, numbers were up by one third over June.

In one spinoff to President Zelenskiy’s visit to Turkey, ferry service may be restored in coming weeks between Kherson’s port of Skadovsk and Turkey’s Black Sea port of Zonguldak. Five years ago, service by a roll-on/roll-off ferry was discontinued due to insecurity surrounding Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Negotiations now are underway with a Greek shipping company. Yuriy Husev, head of Kherson region administration, predicts that the cross-Black Sea ferry service will start again this fall. 

  • Central Bank: Ukraine to Seek 4-year, $10 billion IMF Deal
  • Japan Agency Upgrades Ukraine
  • Deflation in June, July
  • Turkey to Back Turkish Construction in Ukraine in the 2020s
  • Chinese Get 60% of E-Visas

Ukraine should seek this fall a new IMF support program of up to $10 billion and lasting up to four years, Dmytro Sologub, a deputy governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, tells FinancialObserver.eu website. An IMF deal would reassure investors and unlock as much as $1 billion a year in World Bank and EU aid, he says. The major financial obstacle ahead, he says, is cleaning up the mountain of nonperforming loans at the state-held banks.

In July, the National Bank of Ukraine became the eighth central bank in the world to publish its key interest rate forecast. As posted on the new NBU website it is to drop from 17% today to 15% at the end of this year. By the end of next year, it is to hit 9%, and 8% by late 2021.

Japan’s rating agency Rating and Investment Information, or R&I, has upgraded Ukraine’s sovereign credit rating by two notches, from CCC + to B. The political stability of the elections will allow the government to focus on its political programs, which can be highly appreciated,” the agency said Friday in Tokyo. From New York, the Moody rating is Caa1. S&P and Fitch give a rating of B-.

Deflation in July and June canceled out inflation in April and May, keeping July-over-July inflation at 9.1%, report the State Statistics Service. Keeping inflation under control for July, vegetable prices dropped 13.6% compared to June, and Naftogaz cut gas prices to households by 10.4%, following a Europe-wide drop.

The hryvnia will weaken 7% against the dollar by Nov. 1 and by mid-February will be at 27.90, the level of the start of this year, according to a Reuters poll of Ukrainian economists. However, a similar expert poll last winter failed to predict this year’s 9% strengthening of the hryvnia. The difference was largely a net $3.5 billion invested by foreigners in hryvnia bonds since January. Now, economists forecast the Finance Ministry will cap bond sales and suppress yields, currently at 16-18%, double the inflation rate.

Turkey’s government will back Turkish construction firms in Ukraine, now that “the country is on the brink of a new investment initiative,” Turkey’s Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said at the Turkey-Ukraine Business Forum in Istanbul. “Turkish construction firms have so far undertaken $5.9 billion in projects in Ukraine,” she said, reports Daily Sabah, a pro-government daily. “As the Turkish government, we will support Turkish firms for their contribution to the economic growth and development of Ukraine.”

Ukraine fell off Russia’s list of top 10 trading partners during the first half of this year, with Kazakhstan taking its place, reports Kommersant, the Moscow business newspaper. During the first half of this year, Ukraine’s trade with Russia was $6.9 billion, just over one-third of the $18.5 billion recorded in the first half of 2014. Kazakhstan traded $8.9 billion with Russia during the first half. Over the last five years, trade with all of Russia’s top 10 trading partners dropped, with the exception of China.

Ukraine’s natural gas consumption dropped by 12% during the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2018. With consumption down to 16.4 billion cubic meters, domestic production was up 3%, to 10.5 billion cubic meters. Household consumption was down 18% in the first half as residents responded to higher prices and investment in winterizing homes had an impact. With Gazprom behind schedule on Nord Stream 2, analysts believe Russia will not cut off gas transit through Ukraine on Jan. 1, when the 10-year gas transit contract expires.

Kyiv Boryspil airport was Europe’s second-fastest-growing airport in the first half of this year for the mid-size category of 10-25 million passengers a year. Boryspil passenger traffic jumped 20% compared to the first half of 2018, second only to Berlin-Tegel’s 25% jump, according to Airports Council International Europe, an industry group. Growth accelerated in July, with Boryspil recording a 26% y-o-y jump, or 1.6 million passengers.

Chinese visitors account for 60% of the 20,000 new online e-visas issued by Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry since the start of the year. Far behind, are Australians – 12% – and Saudis – 9%. About 85% of the visas are issued to tourists. The visas are available to the citizens of 52 countries. 

The original English version is from our partner UBN – Ukraine Business News. For more information and news archive, go to: www.ubn.news.