• Moody's has upgraded Ukraine’s rating one notch, to Caa2 from Caa3. The outlook changed to positive from stable. Moody's says upgrade of Ukraine's government ratings is based on impact of structural reforms and the strengthening of Ukraine's external financial position. On the downside, Moody's says its rating upgrade was only one notch because Ukraine faces a big foreign debt servicing burden in coming years.
• Betting on a hub strategy and a steady increase in transit traffic, Ukraine International Airlines plans to double its fleet to 90 jets over the next five years, according to a new report on Ukraine’s flagship airline by CAPA, the Centre for Aviation. UIA accounts for about 60% of seat capacity at Boryspil, and half of UIA’s seats are occupied by transit passengers. After Boryspil, UIA’s second busiest destination is Tel Aviv. This year, UIA is expanding by adding new destinations – Milan and Budapest – and by adding new frequencies-- a third daily flight to Vilnius and second daily flights to Amsterdam, London Gatwick and Stockholm.
• Last weekend, Wizz Air started flights from Kyiv Zhuliany to Copenhagen, Nuremberg, Frankfurt-Hahn, Lublin and Poznan. On Thursday, the discount airline based a second Airbus 320 at Zhuliany.
• Ukraine rivals Russia as the largest source of people moving to Estonia. Over the last two years, 2015-2016, about 3,000 people from each country emigrated to Estonia, according to Estonia’s Interior Ministry. Russia shares a land border of almost 300 km with Estonia, the northernmost Baltic nation. From Ukraine, Nordica has daily flights from Boryspil to Tallinn. Next April, Wizz Air will start flights from Zhuliany to Boryspil.
• Ukraine is spending nearly $1 billion on road repairs this year, according to Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman. So far, he said, 750 km of roads have been repaired, and 40,000 km roads have been patched. This summer, Work started on the Lviv-Odesa road, an 900 km EU standard highway that will pass through Khmelnytsky, Vinnytsia, Mykolaiv and Kherson. Ready by 2021, this highway will boost cargo traffic from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports to Central Europe.
• To promote trade with Ukraine, Austria has unveiled a feasibility study for the construction of 400 km of wide gauge track from Vienna to Ukraine’s border. The widened track would largely pass through Slovakia. It would cost EUR 6.5 billion and would take 10 years of work, from 2023 to 2033. In a major bet on Ukraine’s future growth, the track could carry 20,000 freight trains with 20 million tons of cargo a year. Austria’s Transport Minister Joerg Leichtfried said Friday at presentation of the study, prepared by Deloitte: "I want Austria to become a connecting point for logistics in Europe.”
• Moldova and Ukraine are upgrading their border crossings. A joint border crossing bridge, with customs checkpoints will open “soon” at Bronnytsia-Unguri, Daniela Morari, Moldova’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Moldova for European Integration told Ukrinform. Located a 2-hour drive south of Vinnytsia, the crossing serves northern Moldova. Last month, authorities of both countries inaugurated an EU-standard border crossing at Kuchurhan-Pervomaisc, a point in southern Moldova, 75 km by road northwest of Odesa city.
• Ukraine plans to lodge lawsuit with World Trade Organization against Russia over Moscow’s restrictions on import of agricultural products from Ukraine, according to Ukraine's Trade Representative Natalia Mykolska. Ukraine has three other WTO suits against Russia, including one on restrictions on railroad equipment. Russia joined the WTO in 2012 after receiving considerable legal aid from Washington during a 19-year application process.
• Over the last three years, 1 million Ukrainians benefited from $150 million in loans for insulating their houses and apartments and buying new boilers, according to the State Agency for Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation. The government issued 320,000 of these loans which have below market repayment conditions.
• By next spring, Ukraine should receive from the EU half of a promised EUR 100 million fund for energy efficiency. The EU wants to create a center for energy efficiency in each of Ukraine’s 25 regions, Hennadiy Zubko, Deputy Prime Minister for Minister of Regional Development, Construction and Housing, said Saturday. By investing in energy conservation, Ukraine can cut gas consumption by 50% in three years - from 18 billion cubic meters today to 9 billion cubic meters in 2020.
• The ProZorro electronic public procurement system has saved about $1 billion of budget funds, according to Stepan Kubiv, First Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Economic Development and Trade. Addressing the Ukraine World Congress in Kyiv, Kubiv, predicted that this year’s GDP growth will be 2% and 3% next year.
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