Week's balance: Farewell to Kobolyev, fiscal service reform, and new wave of deregulation
The Cabinet of Ministers refused to renew the contract with Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev, the reform of the fiscal service has finally moved from a standstill, the government abolished 149 business regulations, while hryvnia further strengthened – these were the main economic developments of the outgoing week.
Groysman-Kobolyev row playing in Kremlin's hands
The "salary spat" between Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and top managers of Naftogaz escalated to the government’s refusal to renew the contract with CEO, Andriy Kobolyev. The latter stated that the Cabinet's actions were unlawful but did not specify his further moves. The whole situation is now in limbo. Experts suggest there is some pre-election fleur to it, but this will only play into the hands of Russia's Gazprom.
Week's balance: Slower slide of industrial output, election "gifts" to pensioners, and restrictions on cash payments
The State Statistics Service reported a slowdown in industrial output in January, the government allocated one-time “assistance” to pensioners on the eve of elections, while the National Bank announced its intention to impose restrictions on B2C cash payments – these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
Week's balance: Attack on shadow employment, end of preferences for owners of cars on EU plates, and green-lighted inspections at regional gas distribution companies
The Ministry of Social Policy is initiating new restrictions on contracting "individual entrepreneurs" instead of fully hiring them; the grace period for customs clearance of cars with EU plates has ended; while the regulator has been allowed to inspect regional gas distribution companies over additional charges to their customers for gas consumed – these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
Self-deception: Hungary first generously hands out passports to Ukrainians, then struggles with "new Hungarians"
Recently it became known that the Prosecutor’s Office of Hungary opened 370 criminal cases against Ukrainians who had obtained Hungarian citizenship. The first targets of the investigation were those seeking Hungarian pensions. Meanwhile, mediators in Ukraine didn’t blink an eye and further help future Hungarian pensioners get citizenship.
Week's balance: Ukraine stats agency reports on accelerated economy growth, government speaks of priorities for 2019, while president urges foreign businesses to invest in Ukraine
The State Statistics Service reported on a faster economy growth in the fourth quarter of 2018, the government submitted its annual report and announced priorities for 2019, while President Poroshenko called on foreign businesses to invest in Ukraine – these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
Renewable energy in Ukraine on the verge of change
Electricity production from solar and wind energy in Ukraine is growing by leaps and bounds primarily due to a powerful incentive – a high "green" tariff. Whether this sector is able to maintain its attractiveness depends on the parliament, which is considering a law on the transition from green tariffs to the mechanism for determining the price of electricity at auctions.
Week's balance: Hryvnia strengthening, road repairs promised, and personnel reshuffles hitting high offices
Hryvnia entered a period of confident growth, the infrastructure ministry vowed further efforts to upgrade Ukrainian road network, while the Cabinet replaced the agrarian ministry's acting chief – these are the main economic news of the past week.
Ukraine's path toward EU and NATO: Point of no return
On Thursday, February 7, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine leveled out the “achievements” of the fugitive ex-President Viktor Yanukovych, enshrining in the Constitution of Ukraine the country's strategic course toward the EU and NATO. What do these changes mean and is it possible that Ukraine will one day make another U-turn toward Russia?
Ukraine's Deputy Finance Minister Vasyl Shkurakov: "There is no urgent need to rush and borrow at whatever rate"
This year, Ukraine must repay more than $6 billion to external creditors. Deputy Minister of Finance Vasyl Shkurakov in an interview with UNIAN told about the government's strategy of refinancing debts, the ministry's work in the domestic debt market, and the probability of default on public debt.
Week's balance: War over gas bills, NBU forecast, and new transport projects
The government struck back at the regional gas distribution companies, reducing consumption rates for Ukrainians and speeding up the installation of meters; the National Bank retained the GDP growth forecast; while the leaders of the transport industry announced this year's priority tasks – these are the key economic news of the past week.
Infrastructure Minister: We believe the Azov set of sanctions will be adopted. This will hit Russia, again
The Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine in an interview with UNIAN told about the ongoing work with the western partners on a new package of sanctions against Russia over the aggression in the Sea of Azov and our losses as a result of this aggression, Ukraine's plans for road repair and construction, his attitude to the NABU probe against him, and changes ahead in railway transportation.
Week's balance: Gazprom's delay, FTA with Israel, and good news from Davos
Following the tripartite talks in Brussels on the transit of Russian gas via Ukraine, the parties identified their positions and set up a new meeting, while Ukraine sealed an FTA deal with Israel, and reached a number of agreements with investors at the annual economic forum in Davos – these are the key economic news of the outgoing week.
Yanukovych verdict: Case recap
Nearly five years after ex-President Viktor Yanukovych fled from Ukraine, the court finally handed down a verdict in his high treason case. After eight hours of an almost continuous reading of the full text, the Obolonsky District Court of Kyiv sentenced Yanukovych in absentia to 13 years in prison for high treason and 12 years for complicity in war. But can Yanukovych be held accountable to the fullest?
Gas talks in Brussels: Will there be Ukraine transit after 2019
Another round of Ukraine-EU-Russia gas talks to decide the fate of the future transit contract between Naftogaz and Gazprom saw no concrete outcome, as earlier expected. And although the meeting was held behind closed doors, some new details surfaced.
Week's balance: New coins, Groysman vs space-high salaries in Naftogaz, and transit talks with Gazprom
The NBU governor reported to parliament, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman demanded that the Naftogaz Supervisory Board reduce the exorbitant salaries of the company's top management, while Russia disrupted technical consultations on gas transit – these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
False start of gas talks. Naftogaz vs Gazprom and EU
Russia has disrupted technical consultations in the run-up to the trilateral Ukraine-EU-Russian negotiations on the future contract on gas transit via Ukraine. This casts doubt on the very effectiveness of talks, scheduled for January 21.
Week's balance: Weak economic growth, lower state profits, and new wave of forex easing
Ukraine's key creditors – the IMF and the World Bank – have worsened the outlook for the development of the national economy in 2019, noting that the efforts of the authorities to create a more competitive environment did not meet expectations; the Ministry of Economic Development cited modest financial figures in reports of strategic state enterprises, while the NBU announced a new wave of currency liberalization – these are the main economic developments of the outgoing week.
Road repairs boom-2018 and U.S. locomotives for Ukrzaliznytsia
In 2018, Ukraine allocated a record $40 billion for road repairs, which made it possible to drastically increase the volume of road construction and maintenance works throughout the country. In parallel lines, the railroad operator began an upgrade of its fleet, while Ukraine completed the largest infrastructure project of the decade, the Beskydy tunnel in the Carpathians.
Ukraine energy 2018: Historic victory over Gazprom and tariff hike
The year of 2018 brought Ukrainians a rise in gas prices, new central heating tariffs, and swings in petrol prices, while we also witnessed Naftogaz’s historic victory over Russia's Gazprom. In 2019, no less fateful events are expected as a new competitive electricity market will be launched.