• Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, estimates that it lost $200-300 million due to the cyber attack of June 27. Spreading from Ukraine around the world, the virus is believed to be of Russian origin. With Ukraine’s Independence Day approaching, on Aug. 24, the National Bank of Ukraine is warning companies and government offices to tighten cyber security.
• China plans to import more food from Ukraine, following a five fold, five-year increase to $1 billion 2016. This year, Ukraine plans to start exporting fish products and animal feed to China. After winning sanitary approvals to export oilseed meals and sugar beet pulp, Ukraine hopes to win Chinese approvals later this year for eggs, poultry, honey and berries.
• Israel’s free trade pact with Ukraine is to be completed and signed within six months, Zeev Elkin, head of Israel’s commission on developing bilateral international relations, told Interfax. Signing will give “a very strong impetus to the development of economic relations,” he said. “The free trade zone seriously simplifies all tax issues and makes financial cooperation much more beneficial.” The pact will not include services, a major item given large Israeli investment in outsourcing tech work to Ukraine.
• Ukraine’s air traffic boom show no signs of slowing. AirBaltic, the Latvian airline, has announced that in March it will offer Kyiv-based passengers quick connections through Riga to four new European destinations: Bordeaux, Gdansk Lisbon, and Malaga.
• While farm exports were the star of the Ukraine’s first half year, accounting for 42 percent of all exports, metallurgical exports also did well. Exports of farm goods grew by 28 percent, exports of metallurgical products grew by 23 percent, and mineral products grew by 61 percent.
• Freight tariffs will climb 22.5 percent in October, according to a new draft budget for Ukrzaliznytsya, the state railroad. The tariff hike, partially pegged to inflation, was to rise in June, but was delayed due to the replacement this summer of the railroad’s chairman, Wojciech Balchun.
• Taxpayers paid 28 percent more in taxes from January to July, compared to the same period last year, according to the State Fiscal Service. The additional taxes are the hyrvnia equivalent of $3.4 billion. Theis inflow is 10 percent above target. Myroslav Prodan, aacting State Fiscal Service head, said: “These results have been achieved thanks to toughening of measures aimed at bringing the economy out of the shadows, increasing combat with smuggling and violation of customs rules."
• Lucky Labs, a large Ukrainian gaming developer, has hired 318 employees so far in 2017, more than any other Ukrainian technology company according to DOU.ua. Founded in 2006 by IT entrepreneurs Rustam Gilfanov and Sergei Tokarev, the company employs about 900 software developers internationally.
• Propy, a global property store and decentralized title registry, is partnering with Ukraine’s government to allow foreign investors to make online real estate purchases for the first time. Through the Ethereum blockchain, Propy allows brokers, buyers, sellers, and title agents/notaries to sign off on transactions within their existing legal frameworks. Sweden, Georgia and Estonia already launched blockchain programs to help manage land titles and real estate ownership, according to Huffington Post.
• Rada members are getting on the Bitcoin bandwagon, buying almost $50 million in the crypto currency. Three Rada members declared Bitcoin holdings on their mandated electronic declarations, according to Ria Novosti. Dmitry Belotserkovets has 398 bitcoins ($1.6 million), Alexander Urbansky has 2,494 bitcoins ($10 million), and Dmitry Golubov has 8,752 bitcoins ($35 million).
• Expanding local currency lending, the EBRD is lending UAH 514 million (about $20 million) to OTP Leasing. The funds will help OTPL to expand leases in hyrvnia to small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly farmers. The use of local currency comforts potential borrowers, who shun foreign exchange risks, according to EBRD. Sevki Acuner, EBRD’s Ukraine Director, said: “Ukraine’s leasing market has contracted severely in recent years and at the moment it represents less than 1 per cent of GDP, compared with up to 14 per cent of GDP in neighboring countries, such as the Czech Republic, Hungary or Poland.
• Oleksandr Kryvokon has become acting president of Antonov, the aircraft maker controlled by Ukroboronprom. Kryvokon was previously director of Kharkiv State Aircraft Manufacturing Company, also part of Ukroboronprom.
• Shanda Consult, a German company that recently advised on the construction of a 3 MW heat and electricity plant in Mariupol, said in Kyiv that Ukraine’s new reforms in alternative energy have improved the investment attractiveness for German investors. Stefan Nolte, executive director of Shanda said after meeting government officials: “We are interested in the incentives and guarantees introduced for investors, the regulatory mechanisms, stability of the economic situation.”
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