Year's contrasts: 4G breakthrough and rollback, millionaires from Ukrposhta slums, and Ukrtelecom row
The outgoing 2018 is truly a year of contrasts in the telecommunications market. The long-awaited LTE (4G) format was introduced, while even the 2G connection was not solid at all times, and no promised abolition of “mobile slavery” happened; the team of business reformers who came to manage Ukrposhta increased the company’s losses and began closing company branches in rural areas; and the epic with the return of Ukrtelecom to state ownership went for the second round in Ukrainian courts.
Year's balance: Reconciliation with IMF, bills for Russia, and new investors
Ukraine secured a new cooperation program with the IMF, scored several loud victories in international courts against Russian aggressors, attracted new investors, and boasted a record harvest – these are the main economic results of the outgoing year.
Week's balance: New IMF requirements and long-awaited tranche, Fiscal Service unbundling, and "disgraceful" moratorium on farmland sale
Ukraine's main creditor, the IMF, set new demands on reforms and even allocated an incentive tranche in the amount of $1.4 billion; the authorities go for a large-scale reshuffle in the Fiscal Service structure; and MPs once again chose to prolong the moratorium on farmland sale to avoid speculation ahead of the presidential election.
IMF billions under Ukraine's Christmas tree
Despite the introduction of martial law in several regions of Ukraine and the incompletion of the previous cooperation program, the IMF approved a new one for Ukraine, this time worth $3.9 billion. Experts call the key lender's decision a rescue from default.
Week's balance: Failure to sell Centrenergo, Nasirov's reinstatement, and higher heating tariffs
The long-awaited privatization tender for the sale of Ukraine's strategic SOE Centrenergo is canceled because participants are not allowed to bid, the court reinstates ex-head of the fiscal service Roman Nasirov suspected of corruption, while NEURC predictably approves new heating tariffs, and the IMF is almost ready to provide Ukraine its first tranche under a new stand-by program – these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
Opening imports: Who is hindering electricity price reduction
Ukraine has not yet removed the administrative barriers to electricity imports from the European Union, although Kyiv promised to do this several years ago. European officials set a deadline for fulfilling previous commitments for July 1, 2019. Otherwise, they vow sanctions.
Week's balance: Ukraine awaiting IMF tranche, Firtash's regional gas companies accused of "sabotage," and Ukrzaliznytsia seeing ticket chaos
Ukraine took another step toward receiving a bailout tranche from the IMF; Naftogaz called actions of Dmytro Firtash’s gas distribution firms "sabotage"; while Ukrzaliznytsia experienced a ticketing chaos – these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
Nord Stream 2: Is Europe aware of the Russian noose?
Russia's aggression against Ukraine in the Black Sea has raised to another level in the international arena the issue of the construction of the Nord Stream-2, the Kremlin's noose for the European Union. European officials have already submitted to Parliament a resolution on halting support for the Russian project, but it is only scheduled to be heard in March. UNIAN figured out what Ukraine should expect from a Europe that is constantly "in doubt."
Week's balance: "Martial law" economy, swinging hryvnia, and EUR 500 mln aid from EU
Ukraine, for the first time in modern history, is learning how to live under martial law and it is not yet clear how this will affect the national economy, although the hryvnia responded immediately by going into a steep dive, only to regain positions shortly. The EU finally allocated the first EUR 500 million aid tranche, while IMF also sent positive signals by not turning away from Ukraine and being ready to consider the allocation of the next tranche. The country's main airport became closer as Ukrzaliznytsia launched an express railbus line, connecting it with the Kyiv center - these are the key economic news of the outgoing week.
Week's balance: Rada passes 2019 Budget, discount air carriers announce expansion in Ukraine, while Poroshenko signs law on customs clearance of cars with EU plates
After a sleepless night, on Friday morning, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the 2019 State Budget, paving the way for the new IMF program; the management of two major European low-cost air carriers announced their active business development in our country, while President Petro Poroshenko ignored the requirements of protesting drivers, having signed laws on new rules for customs clearance of imported vehicles.
Week's balance: Poroshenko "turns on" heating, U.S. vows energy support, while GDP growth slows down
President Petro Poroshenko had to personally intervene to ensure a belated start of the heating season in the town of Smila, which is evidence of acute problems in the country's energy sector; U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry during his Kyiv visit promised support in the energy field; while GDP growth rates declined – these are the key economic news of the outgoing week.
Week's balance: Benefits and fines for drivers of EU-tagged cars, new taxes, and blackout threat in Luhansk region
The Verkhovna Rada, under the pressure of protesting drivers of vehicles with EU registration plates cut the customs clearance fees for such cars but sharply increased fines for those who fail to legalize their vehicles in Ukraine on time. MPs also discussed tax innovations, while President Poroshenko announced that Ukraine would shortly receive the first tranche of the EU aid in the amount of EUR 500 million. Meanwhile, the start of the heating season brought the first "surprise" as coal reserves at Luhansk TPP, owned by DTEK, have exhausted.
Week's balance: Russian sanctions, progress in Doing Business, and gas price hike
Ukraine has risen five positions in the Doing Business ranking, Russia imposed sanctions on Ukrainian politicians and a number of companies, while Germany's Angela Merkel during her Kyiv visit promised more economic assistance and wider bilateral trade.
Week's balance: Heating season start, Putin's sanctions, and eurobonds worth $2 bln
Ukraine has attracted $2 billion, placing eurobonds with a 5- and 10-years' maturity period and a yield of 9% and 9.75%. The Russian leadership, besides shelling and shooting in Donbas, is now rattling other types of sabers – personal sanctions against Ukrainian politicians. Meanwhile, the decrease in temperature forced the authorities to greenlight the start of the heating season against the background of the gas price hike and new tariffs for heat and hot water.
Sanctions against Ukraine Putin’s losing bet
Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree with a very colorful title “On the application of special economic measures in connection with the unfriendly actions of Ukraine in relation to citizens and legal entities of the Russian Federation.” UNIAN figured out who could be hit by sanctions and whether the restrictions would have an impact on the Ukrainian economy.
Week's balance: gas price hike, IMF agreement, and budget battles
The Verkhovna Rada made the first step toward adopting the Budget 2019 and considered amendments to the Tax Code, which imply an increase in a number of excises and fees. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman keeps scolding his predecessors for the accumulation of “major debts,” while he himself follows the vicious practice of living beyond means. But perhaps the most important news of the outgoing week is the increase in gas prices for the households, followed by a new agreement with the IMF.
Week's balance: IMF's negative outlook, falling oil prices, and pleasant forex news
The collapse in global stock markets pulled down oil prices, which heralds a reduction in the cost of fuel in Ukraine. At the same time, the IMF has worsened the economic outlook for Ukraine in 2019, not ruling out unemployment growth. At the same time, the hryvnia seems to have stopped its plunge.
Week's balance: Economic outlook by World Bank, delay of large-scale privatization, and 100% readiness for winter
The government reported its readiness for the heating season and approved the starting price and terms of privatization of Centrenergo, while the sale of other state assets was once again postponed to the next year; the World Bank announced its outlook for Ukrainian economic growth and reiterated its call on the country's leadership to continue implementing reforms – these are the main economic developments of the outgoing week.
Week's balance: Awaiting gas tariffs, fighting corruption in construction sector, and new tax evasion schemes in exports
Negotiations with the International Monetary Fund on the next bailout tranche are being delayed due to disagreements over the gas price for the population; the Cabinet declared war on corruption in the construction industry; while agrarians continue to increase trade with the EU, which calls into question the allocation of financial assistance to Ukraine because of the existing tax evasion schemes.
Week's balance: Groysman's budget, Yanukovych's debt, Arab "Mriya," and hunt for Omelyan
Volodymyr Groysman's Cabinet approved the draft budget for 2019, the year to become one of the most difficult ones for the national economy, while negotiations with the IMF are underway on the price of gas for the population; the court in London forwarded the case of "Yanukovych debt" for full-fledged consideration; experts argue about the benefits of IKEA entering the country's market and the purchase by the Saudi company of a Ukrainian agricultural holding Mriya. In the meantime, the public eye was focused on the NABU detectives' hunt for infrastructure minister Volodymyr Omelyan - these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.