Ukrainian industrial production fell at the fastest pace in Europe in November, dropping for a fourth consecutive month, led by steel, machine building and oil refining, Bloomberg reported.

Output tumbled an annual 28.6 percent, following a 19.8 decline in October, the Kiev-based Ukrainian Statistics Office said in a statement on its Web site today. Steel production slumped 48.8 percent, oil refining and chemical output fell 35.2 percent and machine building by 38.8 percent.

“November’s decline followed a serious drop, driven by the decline in metal and machine-building production, which is an indicator of weakening investment activity,” said Iryna Piontkivska, an economist at Troika Dialog Ukraine in Kiev. “Ukraine’s economy is in recession in the forth quarter of the year on the background of such an industrial production drop.”

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Emerging economies are being shaken by the global financial crisis, weakening currencies and plunging demand for their products in world markets. Ukraine, like Latvia and Hungary, turned to the International Monetary Fund for help. Latvia’s industrial output dropped 9 percent in October, while Hungarian production fell 7.2 percent.

The Ukrainian economy, which has been expanding at an average annual pace of 7 percent since 2000, is now “in recession,” said Finance Minister Viktor Pynzenyk on Dec. 10. Economic growth will probably slow to between 3.5 percent and 4 percent this year from 7.6 percent in 2007, First Deputy Economy Minister Serhiy Romanyuk said Dec. 3. The economy may contract by 5 percent next year, Oleksandr Shlapak, the president’s deputy chief of staff, said on Nov. 26.

Ukraine’s national currency, the hryvnia, is heading to its worse year since 1999. It lost 34 percent in October and November and has been sliding further this month.

The government of the nation of a 46 million people relies on a weakening hryvnia to boost exports, said Finance Minister Viktor Pynzenyk yesterday.

The Cabinet also wants to build roads and other infrastructure next year to boost industrial production, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said on Dec. 1.

Industrial output grew 10.2 percent in 2007, boosting economic growth to 7.3 percent. Piontkivska expects industrial production to contract by 3 percent in 2008, while economic growth slows to “around 4 percent.”

Production increased 2.2 percent in the first 11 months of the year, compared with 10.7 in the same period a year ago, according to the statistics data.