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  • Gov’t Borrowing Gets Cheaper, Longer
  • Poles Loan $100 Million to Build Shopping Centers in Kyiv, Kharkiv
  • Half a Million ‘New’ Cars Hit Ukraine’s Streets in 2019

Ukraine’s state and state-guaranteed debt of Ukraine fell last year to 52% of GDP, from 63% at the start of the year, reports the Finance Ministry. The Ministry’s goal is 45% at the end of this year, and 40% at the end of 2024. During 2019, the debt actually grew by 6%, from $78 billion to $83 billion. But Ukraine’s economy grew by about 3.5%. The hryvnia’s 15% appreciation against the dollar, also served to increase the dollar equivalent figure for Ukraine’s hryvnia economy.

With foreign investor interest strong in Ukraine’s government debt, the share of government hryvnia-denominated debt increased last year from 33% to 41%. Yields on government hryvnia bonds fell sharply: by 7.22 percentage points to 11.78% for three-month government bonds; and by 7.08 percentage points to 11.42% for 1-year government bonds.  The weighted average term of government hryvnia debt bonds increased: from nine months in 2018 to two years in 2019.

Privatization failed last year, netting only 3% of the forecast budgeted amount. The amount earned – $23 million – barely covered the budget of the agency in charge of the program, the State Property Fund. Kyiv judges held up sales last year, a resistance that vanished after the landslide electoral wins of Zelenskiy, a strong advocate of selling state companies.

The strong hryvnia has depressed the hryvnia value of Ukraine’s export revenues, contributing to a $1.6 billion gap between revenue projections and the amount actually collected, reports Bloomberg in an article titled: “World-Beating Currency Gives Ukraine a Budget Headache.” The government has ordered the Finance Ministry to reduce some development spending, reports Ekonomichna Pravda news site, citing documents it obtained. The IMF insists that the government budget deficit stays below 2% of GDP. In 2019, it was $3 billion, or 1.8% of GDP.

A Polish development bank has granted a €53.6 million loan for the construction of a shopping center in Kharkiv, its second Ukraine project in a year. Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego, or BGK, is financing the construction of Nikolskiy shopping center by Unibep SA, one of Poland’s largest construction companies. Polish Export Credit Insurance Corporation, or KUKE, is insuring the project, which is to have 40% Polish materials and services. With Poland increasingly supplanting Russia as Kharkiv’s international partner, Kharkiv airport now has direct flights to six Polish cities.

 

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One year ago, BGK, Unibep, and KUKE teamed up to complete the Retroville shopping center on Prospek Pravdy, in Kyiv’s Podil district. BGK loaned Unibep €35 million to complete Retroville. Due to open next summer, the shopping center is to have 120,000 square meters of leasable space, 3,245 parking spaces and the capacity to handle 25,000 visitors. Prospekt Pravdy, the new terminus station of the Green metro line, is to open nearby in 2022.

After a slow start to the year, sales of new cars jumped by 31% in December This pulled up the year-long sales growth to 8%, or 88,500 cars, reports UkrAutoProm, the auto industry group. The top five brands are Renault, Toyota, Kia, Skoda, and Nissan.

In contrast, imports of used cars through October increased by fourfold, to 349,000, reports UkrAutoProm. About half of these cars arrived in Ukraine prior to 2019 but were regularized last year by owners taking advantage of tax amnesties. With Germany increasingly restricting diesel cars, Germany was Ukraine’s top source for second-hand cars: 89,000 cars through October.

Ukrainians spent $2.6 billion on imported cars through September. The average declared customs value of an imported car was $4,000. The declared value of the average new import was more than four times higher: $18,000.

 

  • Russian Gas Flows Across Ukraine Under New EU-Standard Contract
  • Deal Keeps Big Gas Pipe Going Through Ze Government
  • Biggest Russia-Ukraine Business Deal In Five Years Signals Thaw?
  • PM Predicts Stronger Hryvnia in 2020
  • UZ’s Kravtsov Quits

Russian gas is flowing across Ukraine to the EU, thanks to a new 5-year contract, announced last Tuesday, one day before the old, 10-year contract expired.

Here are highlights that emerged from five days of negotiations in Vienna:

Ukraine expects to earn a minimum of $7.2 billion in transit fees over the five-year deal, about half the rate of current earnings.The guaranteed figure may grow, but not be less,” says Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev. “From the point of view of the gas world – this is pretty decent.” He declined to reveal the new transit tariff. Energy Minister Oleksiy Orzhel forecasts a bigger payback: “We will receive approximately $2-3 billion annually for transit over the next five years.”

Russian gas transit volumes will hit 75 billion cubic meters this year, well over the 65 bcm contract minimum, calculates Kobolyev. This would be 17% below the 2019 figure of 90 bcm. He arrives at the figure by deducting 15 bcm expected to flow in 2020 through Russia’s new TurkStream Ukraine bypass route. Kobolyev predicts Russia will not complete Nord Stream 2 this year. Ukraine received a $2.9 billion payment Friday from Gazprom for an arbitration settlement.

For 2021-2024, minimum guaranteed transit volumes are to be 40 bcm a year. After, the contract can be extended for another five years. Tens of thousands of Ukrainians work on the gas pipeline system. In 2020, it supplied 45% of the EU’s imports of gas from Russia.

Ukraine could save money by buying Russian gas at regional market prices. The new deal “will become a significant factor in lowering the price of gas in [Ukraine’s] market,” predicts Prime Minister Honcharuk. Naftogaz noted “Gazprom’s interest in the possibility of resuming gas supplies to Ukraine in the future, taking into account the principle of pricing gas based on the price of the European hub. The issue of [Russian] gas supply is not part of the package deal.”

Russia’s gas now flows across Ukraine under EU rules, under a contract with Ukraine’s new, EU-certified Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine. Sergey Makogon, director-general of this state-owned company, wrote Wednesday morning on Facebook: “We have proven that we are able to work according to the new European rules.”

Ukraine’s new gas pipeline company signed an interconnection agreement with Slovakia’s Eustream on Tuesday, completing a missing link for EU-standard agreements with all of Ukraine’s neighbors, but Belarus. All parts for gas transit along the Ukrainian route are now in place – Great news for Europe’s energy security!” tweeted Maroš Šefčovič, a Slovak politician who was the EU’s lead negotiator on the 3-way gas talks.

The EU-standard agreement with Slovakia, the largest recipient of Russian pipeline gas from Ukraine, allows for the ‘virtual reverse’ of gas. Under such a swap arrangement, Russian gas does not physically travel back to Ukraine but is withdrawn along the route through Ukraine. On the western end, Ukraine compensates with supplies to Slovakia’s gas hub.

President Zelenskiy hailed the deal, as ensuring Ukraine’s “energy security and well-being.” He wrote on Facebook: “Europe knows, we won’t fail it in terms of energy security.”

Reflecting on Russia’s high-level commitment, the contract was signed last Monday evening in St. Petersburg by Alexey Miller, Gazprom’s CEO for the last two decades. Yuri Vitrenko, Naftogaz executive director, signed for Ukraine in Vienna. After signing, Miller described the agreements as a “big package deal that restored the balance of interests between the parties.” The contract dispute is to be settled under Swedish law, Kobolyev said.

Revenue and international bonds will suffice to upgrade Ukraine’s pipeline system, which was built by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s to send Western Siberian gas to Europe. “The financial income of the new GTS Operator, as well as its ability to attract credit, will be quite sufficient for its modernization,” Kobolyev told reporters, dismissing any possibility of Russian investment. Of revenues, 90% will go to the new pipeline company and 10% to Naftogaz.

 

Prime Minister Honcharuk predicts the hryvnia will continue to strengthen in 2020. “We attribute this slight weakening of the hryvnia before the New Year to speculative demand,” he said Monday on the Today show of Ukraine 24 TV. “Traditionally, before New Year, people change dollars, buy hryvnia, in order to buy gifts, or otherwise spend money.” Last Thursday and Saturday, the National Bank of Ukraine bought $1.2 billion. This dollar purchase exercise succeeded in weakening the hryvnia by 2.6%, to 23.82 today.

Real salary growth in 2020 will be 10%, the same level as 2019, predicts Tymofiy Milovanov, Minister of Economy, Trade and Agriculture Development. Referring to emigration, he writes on Facebook: “In sectors and regions where there is a strong demand for workers, people will return.”

Ukrzaliznytsia’s CEO Yevhen Kravtsov has resigned after five years at the state railroad, the last three in the top job. Widely respected for reforming UZ, Kravtsov, a former partner at Asters law firm, apparently fell victim to the Zelenskiy government’s desire to put their own appointee in charge of a company that is Ukraine’s largest employer. “Yevhen has played a key role in rescuing UZ from the troubles it was in two years ago and helped to establish Corporate Governance at UZ,” Sevki Acuner, chairman of the Supervisory Board, writes in a note posted on the railroad’s website.

Acuner cited “intense” criticism of UZ, saying that criticism should “not just aim to blame or destruct, and disregard areas of progress.” Acuner wrote: “Thanks to Yevhen, his management team and the commitment of our employees, UZ is strong and well-positioned to shape and implement the transformation necessary in preparing for the new market and regulatory structures.”

 

  • GE to Sell 40 Locomotives to UZ
  • Italy’s Ernest Airlines Faces Jan. 13 Grounding
  • Rada to Ban Trucks During Big City Rush Hours
  • New Sensors Detect Monster Trucks

General Electric is to supply 40 new diesel locomotives to Urkzaliznytsia in 2020, the Infrastructure Ministry reported Monday. The deal, worth an estimated $200 million, is to include maintenance for 70 TE33AC locomotives – the 40 new ones and 30 supplied last year. In Feb. 2018, Ukrzaliznytsia and GE signed a framework agreement to supply 225 locomotives through 2034. The latest deal was signed by Ukrainian officials and a representative of Wabtec Corp. which bought GE’s transportation last February. Yevhen Kravtsov, CEO of the state railroad, said the new locomotives are the workhorses of the system, carrying a disproportionate amount of freight and saving the US $4 million a year in diesel costs.

Italian aviation authorities say they will suspend the operating license of Ernest Airlines, the Milan-based low-cost carrier, starting Monday, Jan. 13.  Because the suspension is not safety-related, the Italian Civil Aviation Authority said it was allowing Ernest to fly for two more weeks during the heavy travel season.

Over the last two years, Ernest aggressively developed the Ukraine market, offering flights from Kyiv Sikorsky to six Italian cities, from Lviv to four, from Kharkiv to two, and from Odesa to one. In October, Ernest opened an office in Kyiv and announced plans to station two Airbus at Kyiv Sikorsky next spring and to open five new routes from Ukraine to Italy. But in December, disappointing passenger numbers took their toll and Ernest announced it was ending flights from Kharkiv. The airline hopes to win the revocation of the suspension by Jan. 13.

With Germany-Ukraine trade increasing, Germany has increased its permits for Ukrainian truckers by 12%, to 90,000 in 2020. By contrast, Poland slashed its Ukrainian trucker permits by 38% in 2019, to 160,000. Ukrainian truckers that the move was an attempt to induce Ukrainian drivers to emigrate and drive for Polish companies.

To cut air pollution and ease traffic jams, the Rada approved in the first reading a bill to ban trucks from entering Ukraine’s 20 largest cities during rush hours – from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. During week day rush hours, trucks weighing more than eight tons will be banned from all cities with more than 250,000 people.

Ukraine customs officers now use drive-through scanners to check trucks at seven EU checkpoints. A scanner cuts the time to check a truck by 90%. The new State Customs Service says that, on taking over border control last fall, officials discovered several new scanners kept in storage.

Foreign companies are invited to monitor road construction projects in Ukraine in 2020, Ukravtodor announces. “Next year, the quality of all key road projects will be monitored by independent international companies whose expertise is recognized in the world,” Oleksandr Kubrakov, head of the state highways agency, writes on Facebook. In a pilot project, a Viennese civil engineering company, iC consulenten Ziviltechniker GesmbH, is to audit work on 750 km of national roads that run from Boryspil to Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov.

To cut dependence on cement imported from Russia, the Cabinet of Ministers has adopted a decree regularizing and encouraging the use of metallurgical slag and coal fly ash to pave roads. Priority will be given to the industrial southeast: Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Kirovohrad, Luhansk, Mykolaiv, and Zaporizhzhia.

On the Kyiv-Lviv highway, new Weight in Motion sensors confirmed what motorists already know: there are monster trucks out there. For Ukravtodor, the top offender is a green cab truck hauling crushed stone that was recorded nine times carrying excess weight – an average of 21 tons. The largest overload detected was 49 tons. During the November test period, the total excess cargo carried by trucks on the highway was 6,000 tons – the equivalent of 14 “Motherland” statues. To save lives and to save highways, by the end of 2020, about 100 Weight in Motion sensors are to be installed across Ukraine.

To keep track of snowplows, Ukravtodor has installed GPS trackers on 500 plows. To maximize plowing and salting, it is encouraging to private road contractors to join the program. Kubrakov, the highways agency head, said: “The GPS control system will allow real-time viewing of all the equipment that is used on roads of national importance. We will be able to check whether the equipment has left for cleaning or topping the roads.”

Ukravtodor is working with the Waze navigation system in a pilot program in Lviv and Dnipropetrovsk to collect information about road conditions, such as snow, ice, dangerous potholes, and accidents. “From now on, all complaints about highways from users of the program are collected in a single database, which is accessible to the road service in real-time,” the highways agency says on Facebook. The program is to be expanded nationwide in 2020.

As the winter holiday driving season starts, the National Police remind drivers that 2,716 people were killed and 26,000 were injured in 130,000 traffic accidents in the first 10 months of this year. By comparison, the Kyiv Post reports 72 Ukrainian soldiers were killed through the end of August.

 

  • Central Bank Buys $500 million, Ending 2019 with Biggest Dollar Buys in 12 Years
  • UK-Ukraine FTA ‘75% Ready’
  • Kyiv-Boyspil Train to Plane Doubles Capacity
  • 2020 Vision: 4G on the Kyiv Metro
  • DTEK Plans 4th Wind Farm on Azov
  • Even Without Christmas, Kyiv Retail Sales Are Up 20%

Intervening aggressively to weaken the hryvnia, the central bank bought half a billion dollars net last Saturday. Coupled with Thursday’s net purchase of $700 million, the National Bank of Ukraine’s net currency purchases in 2019 was $8 billion, a record high since 2007. With last week’s purchases, Ukraine’s foreign currency reserves are about $23.5 billion.

The official exchange rate set through Jan. 7 is 23.69 hryvnia to the dollar. This is a 15.5% gain over the 28.03 rate of Jan. 10, 2019.

No economist forecast in January that the hryvnia would end 2019 as the fastest appreciating currency against the dollar in the world. But this does not stop the prognosticators from trying again.

Oleg Pendzin, a financial analyst, tells UNIAN: “Surely we will see a certain rollback of the dollar, a drop in the hryvnia. At least to the level of 27 hryvnias per dollar, since this figure is actually in the budget of 2020.” Another financial analyst, Alexander Savchenko, forecasts a more modest weakening of the hryvnia: “I expect the dollar to strengthen around January, insignificantly, to the level of 24-25 hryvnias per dollar.”

By contrast, experts interviewed by Interfax-Ukraine predict that the hryvnia will continue to strengthen in the New Year. Oleg Kurinnoy, Credit Dnepr Bank’s Treasury Director, says: “With the continued demand for government bonds from non-residents, the rate can not only stabilize but also begin to strengthen.”

Natalia Shishatskaya, Forward Bank’s Head of Treasury, agrees, saying: “Given the budget deficit, the Ministry of Finance is likely to continue to place OVDPs [government bonds] at auctions next year, which means that the inflow of currency from non-residents for the purchase of government securities will remain one of the main factors affecting the strengthening of the hryvnia.”

Ukraine is preparing 530 state companies for privatization, with auctions to take place on ProZorro in 2020, Prime Minister Honacharuk wrote on his Telegram account. With the sales expected to draw about $500 million, these companies are between the ‘small privatizations’ – $10,000 – and the big multi-million dollar privatizations that are expected to draw political resistance. Ukraine has about 3,500 state companies.

With Brexit expected to take place in 2020, a UK-Ukraine free trade deal is “75% ready,” Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UK, Natalia Galibarenko, tells Ukrinform. “This is a matter of several months,” she said of a document that would regulate trade between the two nations through the 2020s. Some negotiations revolve around extending British visa-free access to Ukraine, which expires next December with the end of Britain’s transition period. In the spirit of reciprocity, the ambassador wants visa liberalization for Ukrainians visiting the UK.

Ireland plans to open an embassy in Kyiv in 2020, reports Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry. The timing and location was decided at a recent meeting between Simon Coveney, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister.  Dublin-based Ryanair started flying three times a week between Dublin and Kyiv Boryspil.

With the Boryspil express train to Kyiv increasingly popular, Ukrzaliznytsia is doubling capacity during peak hours, running a 3-car train with 170 seats between the capital and the nation’s busiest airport. From 9 am to 6 pm, the new train will supplement service by the existing one-car, self-propelled train. With passenger flow topping 1 million in the first year, Evhen Kravtsov, CEO of the state railroad, is studying electrifying the 35 km route.

Lease tenders for restaurants, duty-free shops, and ATMs at Boryspil are to go through ProZorro, Infrastructure Minister Vladislav Krykliy tells the Center for Transportation Strategies. “I definitely want ProZorro to have all our leases and sales next year,” he said after a Ministry meeting on the issue Thursday. “For aviation, I want McDonald’s to go to Boryspil airport. And they enter only when everything is super transparent.“

In 2020, at least 300 ‘small and medium’ state companies are to be auctioned on ProZorro.Sales, Dmitry Sennichenko, head of the State Property Fund, tells LB.ua. In advance, information on 500 companies are being uploaded on the Property Fund website. In addition, the Fund plans to auction up to five ‘big’ companies, notably Kyiv’s President Hotel, Krasnolimanska, and Odesa Port Plant. The national budget forecasts earnings of $500 million through sales of state companies in 2020.

Ukraine’s three mobile telephone companies are investing $20 million to start 4G service in parts of Kyiv’s subway system this spring, Kyivstar President Alexander Komarov tells reporters. Slowing work, installation can only take place when trains do not run through the tunnels, generally between 12:30 and 5:30 in the morning. The Kyiv City Council has yet to set tariffs for metro usage by the companies – Kyivstar, Vodafone Ukraine and lifecell.

Thousands of Ukrainian students are taking advantage of a new law that allows them to work in Germany for up to three months, reports Deutsche Welle. “In recent years, agencies that offer temporary employment opportunities in Germany for students have popped up all over Ukraine,” reports the story, headlined DHL’s Ukrainian temps experience the dark side of Christmas. “Websites advertise openings for package handlers, cooks and cleaners.”

Oschadbank, Ukraine’s second-largest bank, plans to close up to one-quarter of its 2,400 branches in 2020, Baiba Apine, head of the supervisory board, tells FinClub. The cuts are part of a drive by the state-owned bank to attain profitability.

Ukrposhta plans to auction 800 real estate properties totaling 130,000 square meters across the nation, Ihor Smilianskyi, general director of the state postal service, writes on Facebook. Properties range from 17 recreational centers to buildings where there is only a foundation. With a tender already out for independent appraisals, Ukrposhta plans to sell the properties through ProZorro.Sales. Trying to rationalize its Soviet-era real estate inheritance, Ukrposhta now earns $3 million a year by renting unused space.

The ProZorro e-procurement system saves the state $1 billion a year since its start in 2016, Pavel Kukhta, first deputy Minister of Economic Development, Trade, and Agriculture, writes on Facebook. The recipient of international transparency awards, ProZorro is being expanded under the Zelenskiy administration.

Foreigners should be allowed into Ukraine’s farmland market one-year after-sales begin next October, Economy Minister Timofiy Milovanov tells RBK-Ukraina. Milovanov, a free-market advocate, says: “Essentially, society says: let’s do a [first] stage, without foreigners, without a large concentration of land, with financial support from small and medium-sized farmers. See how it works, and if it works well, let’s move forward to a more liberalized market.” Last week, Bloomberg explored Ukrainian nervousness about a farmland market in a story headlined: “Ukraine Farmers Who Endured Hitler, Stalin Now Fear Markets.”

DTEK Renewables plans to build a 150 MW wind farm in the Berdyansk district of Zaporizhia, reports the website of the Unified Register of Environmental Impact Assessment. DTEK already has 500 MW of wind power capacity in three wind farms on the north shore of the Sea of Azov: Botievska, Orlivska, and Prymorska.

Even before the start of the Christmas shopping season, retail sales in Kyiv were up by 20% through November, almost double the national average of 10.4% Adjusting for inflation, the State Statistics Service reports the fastest growing regions were: Kyiv +20%; Vinnytsia +19%; Ternopil +17%; and Luhansk +16.5%. Last year, Ukraine’s retail trade turnover was up 6% compared to 2017.

 

  • Ukraine’s Macro Wins Praise, at Home and Abroad
  • Foreigners Keep Piling Into Hryvnia Bonds
  • Dragon Spreads it Wings: Buys Lviv Bank, Kharkiv Warehouse
  • Farm Land: A Denmark Missing from Title Registry
  • Car Imports Jump 45%, to $3.3 Billion

Ukraine’s “macroeconomic situation is as good as it gets,” writes ICU bank in a look ahead to 2020. ICU notes: “GDP real growth is staying within the 3-4% range, debt/GDP ratio is poised to decline below 50%.” ICU writes: “Inflation should slow to 4.9% y-o-y by year-end 2019, thanks to the strong hryvnia, low oil and gas prices, and good grain harvest.”

ICU sees more cuts to interest rates by the central bank. “In real terms, the key rate will drop to below 7% by the end of 1Q20 and further to 5% by the end of 2020,” the bank writes, citing post-inflation rates. “Nevertheless, NBU’s key real rate is likely to stay 200-250 bps higher than policy rates of Ukraine’s high-yielding peers by end-2020.”

Reuters highlights this year’s 31% return on Ukraine government hryvnia bonds in a year-end global wrap up story titled: “The best year financial markets have ever had?” Reuters writes: “A new president and a new reform agenda have seen Ukraine’s hryvnia UAH= rocket 19%.”

Retail up 10%, exports up 13.5%, investment up 14%, and construction up 20% – these sectors powered Ukraine’s 4.1% GDP growth in the third quarter. Pulling Ukraine down was a .4% drop in manufacturing. Concorde Capital expects Ukraine’s GDP will end this year up 3.5% y-o-y, compared to up 3.3% y-o-y in 2018

Manufacturing is pulling Ukraine’s economy back in the last quarter. Manufacturing fell 5% y-o-y in October and 7% y-o-y in November. With China’s slowdown causing a worldwide drop in iron and steel demand, Ukraine’s key metallurgy sector was down 15.4% y-o-y in November.

Flexibility will the hallmark of a new Labor Code, planned to be introduced this month in the Rada as ‘The Employment Promotion Bill,’ Timofey Milovanov, Minister of Economic Development, Trade, and Agriculture, writes on Facebook. Student employment contracts, probationary periods for new employees, digitized workbooks, and rules for part-time workers and consultants are among the changes designed to make it easier for employers to hire and fire.

Dragon Capital and an unnamed private investor are buying Lviv’s Idea Bank from Poland’s Getin Holding S.A., the Kyiv-based investment bank reports on its website. According to a Getin Holding report on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, the sale price is about $60 million. Founded 20 years ago as Plus Bank, Idea Bank ranks 24th in assets out of Ukraine’s 76 operating banks, according to the National Bank of Ukraine.

Dragon Capital is buying a 13,100-square meter Class A warehouse in Kharkiv from Austria’s M.O.T. Invest. Dragon’s first real estate purchase in Kharkiv, the complex is Dragon’s 10th warehouse purchase since 2016. Today, Dragon has 303,000 square meters of warehouse space in Ukraine, almost all in Kyiv Oblast, according to Volodymyr Tymochko, Dragon’s managing director for Private Equity.

Highlighting Ukrainian reputation as fast adapters to new technology, the number of users of Nova Poshta’s smartphone app has increased this year by 30%, to 2.8 million people. Shipments via app have totaled 18.3 million so far this year. To further cut labor costs, the privately-owned package delivery service has opened 900 self-service areas. Here, clients package, bill, and pay by themselves.

President Zelenskiy proposes that the farmland market law limit land holdings to 10,000 hectares, owned by Ukrainian citizens and companies. Dmitry Razumkov, the speaker of the Rada, has instructed the Rada Committee on Agrarian and Land Policy to hold nine meetings through the holidays, to Jan. 10. Government lawyers maintain that if the annual moratorium on farmland sales ‘expires’ on Dec. 31, it will remain in effect until a replacement law is adopted by the Rada.

Analysis of satellite surveys of Ukraine found 4.3 million hectares of farmland – an area the size of Denmark – are missing from the national land cadaster, reports Ukrainska Pravda. EOS Data Analytics conducted the study with the Space Research Institute for the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture.

Through November, car imports totaled $3.3 billion – 45% more than the total for all of last year, reports the State Fiscal Service. The most favored imports are German – $632 million, and Japanese – $528 million.

Twice as many roads may be repaired next year than planned. Oleksandr Kubakov, head of the State Highway Agency says that two bills before the Rada would give Ukravtodor an extra $1 billion. The current national budget provides funding for the repair or rebuilding of 4,000 km of roads of “national and local importance.”

 

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