• Kyiv’s Boryspil International Airport was the fastest growing in Eastern Europe during the first half of this year, according to Airports Council International Europe, a trade association in Brussels. In its category, airports handing 5 to 10 million passengers a year, Boryspil’s growth of 29.4 % was topped only in Europe by Keflavik, Iceland - up 39.7%. Across Europe, traffic was up 9 percent during the first half of this year. Eastern Europe and neighboring airport showed far higher growth rates: Kiev (+29.4%), Antalya (+29.2%), Warsaw (+24.7%), St Petersburg (+26%), Prague (+21%), Naples (+20.5%), Malta (+20.2%), Bucharest (+20.4%), Moscow-Sheremetyevo (+17.7%).
• To handle more air travelers, Kyiv Boryspil is investing $1 million in a new baggage delivery section for domestic flights. The 568 square meter area should be ready in May, the airport’s chief engineer, Alexander Nesterenko, told cfts.org. Ukraine International Airlines follows a strategy of using Boryspil as a hub for all its domestic flights.
• In the first half of 2017, passenger cars imports to Ukraine almost doubled, approaching $1 billion, compared to the same period last year, Ukrautoprom reports. Ukraine imported 69,700 cars for a cost of $959.5 million. Due to lower import duties, the portion of used cars doubled to 41 percent. The top 10 nations selling cars to Ukraine are: Germany (15,700); Japan (8,200) France (6,400); the United States (4,600); Romania (3,700); Czech (3,300); Slovakia (2,900); Hungary (2,700); Britain (2,400); and Turkey (2,300).
• Bank loans in hryvnia to individuals grew by 13.4% in the first half of 2017, according to the National Bank of Ukraine. Hryvnia loans to companies grew by 2.6%.
• Electronic signatures will now be valid in Ukraine, winning National Bank of Ukraine approval for use in the nation’s banking system. The central bank believes this will reduce the cost of banking, and improve quality, convenience and speed of servicing banks customers.
• Helping investors, journalists and prosecutors, a database of names of beneficial owners of all Ukrainian companies has been opened, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman posted on his Facebook page. Groysman said Ukraine is the first country in the world to join the Global Beneficial Ownership Register, an initiative of Transparency International to promote transparency and prevent corruption.
• Goldman Sachs analysts predicts the hryvnia’s gradual strengthening will continue through the end of 2018. Since the beginning of 2017, the hryvnia has strengthened against the US dollar by about 1.5 hryvnia, to 25.5 hryvnia today. Goldman Sachs predicts that Ukraine’s national currency will peak at the end of 2018 at UAH 24.8 to the dollar.
• Naftogaz has accepted the resignation of one of its independent supervisory board members, Charles Proctor, of Britain. Proctor, a veteran of BP, is the second independent board member to resign in recent months. In April, the state gas company accepted the resignation of the board chairman, Julia Kovaliv. At the time, all independent board members threatened to resign if the government did not implement the company's corporate governance plan.
• Ukroboronprom is negotiating with Airbus to maintain and repair Airbus jets at the state company’s Civil Aviation Plant 410 located adjacent to Kyiv’s Zhulyany aiport. Ukroboronprom already has maintenance deals with Boeing and Antonov. It is finalizing a deal with Robinson Helicopter Company. Wizz Air, the airport’s largest tenant, has an all Airbus fleet and is to station a third Airbus A320 at Zhulyany in April.
• Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan wants to restore transportation infrastructure in the government-controlled sections of Donetsk and Luhansk. In Luhansk, he want to restore two bombed rail bridges, in Troitske and Rubizhne, both about 100 km from Luhansk city. For air traffic, he wants to upgrade for commercial service the airports in the two provisional capitals, Kramatorsk in Donetsk and Severodonetsk in Luhansk. Presumably, civilian aircraft, approaching low from the west, would be safe from anti-aircraft missiles fired from secessionist controlled areas, about 60 km to the east.
• Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation is interested in acquiring shares in Ukrainian power companies slated for privatization next spring, according to Dmytro Parfenenko, chairman of the State Property Fund. Mitsubishi is partnering with Turkey’s Calik Holding, a Property Fund press release said Thursday after Parfenenko met in Kyiv with Satoshi Tsuchiya, a Mitsubishi executive visiting from Tokyo.
• The State Property Fund of Ukraine has received two bids to auction Friday a 25% stake in DTEK Zakhidenergo. On Friday, it sold a 25% stake in Kyivenergo to a sole bidder. Auctions for shares in these regional power companies are to be held on the PFTS stock exchange. On Wednesday, the Fund sold 25 percent of Donetskoblenergo to Ornex, part of SCM Group. The sole bidder, Ornex about the lot of shares for UAH 143.8 million, almost $6 million.
• During the first half of 2017, 526 households switched to solar power, according to the State Energy Efficiency Agency. With Ukraine’s ‘green tariff’ attracting investment, the number of solar-powered households quadrupled in the last year, to 1,635 households. By comparison, there are about 12 million households in Ukraine.
• As part of his campaign to rebuild Ukraine’s roads, Prime Minister Groysman visited Kherson region, just north of Crimea, and said the government is more than doubling regional highway funds in three years. Next year, the region, which is absorbing some of Crimea’s lost summer tourism, is to receive $20 million in road repair money from Kyiv.
• Compared to one year ago, the number of unemployed workers in Ukraine decreased by 50,000 and the number of open job vacancies increased by 54 percent, to 65,000, the State Statistics Service reports. In addition to a gradual economic recovery in Ukraine, the European Union has absorbed about 2 million Ukrainians. The two month old ‘visa free’ relationship with the EU also is forcing Ukrainian employers to raise salaries to retain personnel.
• Steel exports from Ukraine fell by around 20 percent in the first seven months of this year, to 8.5 million tons, according to Uaprom. Steel imports rose by 17 percent to 685,000 tons. Steel production fell by 18 percent to 11.9 million tons during January-July 2017. Last year, Ukrainian steel exports were almost unchanged at 21.4 million tons.
• Since 2011, a backlog of 76,500 new, unsold apartments have accumulated in Kyiv, according to a study conducted by analysts of the real estate portal Address.ua and of the real estate agency ARPA Real Estate. In the first half of 2017, 20,700 new flats were sold, but about 19,600 newly completed apartments remained for sale.
For comments and story tips, UBJ Editor in Chief James Brooke is reachable at email@example.com