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.
Ukraine's economy-2019: Slower growth with lower inflation
At UNIAN's request, the country's leading economists have shared their macroeconomic forecasts for the coming year. They expect that in 2019, the economic situation will remain fragile, given the low probability of continued important structural changes during the presidential and parliamentary elections.
Ukraine's agriculture in 2018: New records, old problems
The past year for Ukrainian farmers was marked with a record-high harvest and the purchase of the largest and most problematic agricultural holding, while the government again showed its unwillingness to fairly distribute subsidies between small farmers and big market players.
Ukraine's defense in 2018: Developing weapons, restoring missile shield, strengthening armored capacities
In 2018, Ukraine allocated a record UAH 170 billion from the state budget for defense, which allowed intensifying rearmament efforts, financing the development of new types of weapons. Combined with the use of foreign arms and hardware, this strengthened Ukraine's defense capabilities in countering Russian aggression.
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.
Esprit de Corps: What allows Nasirov and other officials to be reinstated through courts
On Tuesday, December 11, the Kyiv District Administrative Court reinstated Roman Nasirov, chairman of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine, who had been dismissed by the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of January 31. Unfortunately, such a return of odious officials to positions through the courts is quite a common thing for Ukraine.
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.
Tomos of autocephaly: Should Ukraine expect provocations from Moscow Patriarchate and what should be done about it
The Moscow Patriarchate is gradually losing Ukraine. Among other things, this is evidenced by a rather inert reaction to statements of the opponents of the "new unified church" idea – namely the Russian Orthodox Church and the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate in the traditionally more pro-Russian regions - Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, and Odesa. At the same time, pro-Russian priests are taking a far more aggressive stance.
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.
Georgian diplomat Valery Chechelashvili: Revolution of Dignity resulted from Russia beginning to categorically object Ukraine-EU rapprochement
Georgia's ex-Ambassador to Russia, former GUAM Secretary General Valery Chechelashvili spoke about how ten years ago the West had high hopes in relation to Russia, thus driving the world into a current dead end, about the philosophy of the Kremlin regime, and on why for Russia, the rapprochement of Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries with the EU (not with NATO) has become a problem.