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13:49 PM Monday, November 20, 2017
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UBJ AM Aug. 31, 2017
OPIC to increase Ukraine lending in 2018; Austria refuses to extradite Firtash; Rail freight up 6%
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• The U.S. government’s development finance institution will increase its lending to American companies in Ukraine next year. Ray W. Washburne, CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, told American business leaders in Kyiv that his agency has already used up its $400 million budgeted for this fiscal year and expects a sizable increase for next year.

• Austria has refused to extradite Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash to Spain. The Vienna court ruled that the District Court in Barcelona failed to justify a European Arrest Warrant issued against Firtash on suspicion of money laundering and the creation of a criminal organization, Kurier reports. UNIAN reports that Austria’s ex-Justice Minister Dieter Boehmdorfer and Ruediger Schender from Firtash’s defense team confirm the extradition attempt’s failure. Boehmdorfer told Kurier: "The Spanish judiciary has tried, at the U.S. request, to impose a politically motivated extradition of our client.”

• With the EU and Ukraine formally entering a free trade era on Friday, President Petro Poroshenko said in Lviv on Wednesday that Ukraine westward turn is irreversible. "Our common efforts will make Ukraine an EU member, and it will become reality because, first of all, we believe in it.” While opening a school 75 km from the Polish border, he said: “"The great Ukrainian nation is coming back to the European family. This is our achievement. This is a significant milestone, the Rubicon, there is no going back."

• During the recently completed grain marketing year, Ukraine shipped 11 percent more grain than in the previous year to the Chinese company CCEC. Of the 702,000 tons shipped by the State Food and Grain Corporation of Ukraine in the July 2016/June 2017 marketing year, 432,000 tons were exported to China, The remaining 270,000 tons were shipped to CECC clients in Portugal, the Netherlands, Italy, Egypt, and Tunisia.

• During the first half of this year, new foreign direct investment to Ukraine amounted to $711 million, well below the $2.9 billion during the same period last year, the State Statistics Service reported Tuesday. Alexander Paraschiy of Concorde Capital writes: “The plunge in capital inflow is the consequence of a waning recapitalization process in the banking sector. The decline in this kind of investment was predictable but we anticipated a stabilized economy would draw more capital inflow to the real sector.”

• Moody's has upgraded the ratings of six Ukrainian banks following the recent increase in Ukraine's sovereign rating from Caa3 to Caa2. According to Moody's website, the rating of three state banks -- PrivatBank, Oschadban" and Ukreximbank -- were upgraded to Caa2 with a positive outlook, the same as Ukraine. Raiffeisen Bank Aval was upgraded to Caa1 with a positive outlook, Pivdenny Bank to Caa3 with a positive outlook, and Prominvestbank to Caa2 with a stable outlook.

• A 6 % rise in rail freight during the first half of this year helped boost revenue for the state railroad by 15%. Also helping Ukrzaliznytsia was a 15% freight rate hike and a 41% drop in financing costs.

• The State Property Fund has received two bids for 25% stakes in the state power generation companies of Dnipro city and Dnipropetrovsk region. The auctions are to be today, Aug. 31, on the PFTS stock exchange.

• Farmak, Ukraine’s largest pharmaceutical company, plans to invest nearly $10 million this year, the company CEO Augustin Dubnicka told Interfax-Ukraine. In the first half of this year, Farmak's revenues increased by 23% compared to the same period in 2016.

• Ukrainians account for about 80 percent of seasonal workers in Bulgaria with work permits from Bulgaria’s Employment Agency, according to Sofia news site Dnevnik. Moldova comes in a distant second with 4%. As of last week, about 2,500 Ukrainians had obtained 90-day permits to work in Bulgaria, largely in the Black Sea resorts, and some in farming.

• Air traffic in and out of Ukraine, grew by one third – or 32.6% -- during the first seven months of this year, according to the Infrastructure Ministry. International traffic grew by 34.3 percent and accounted for 88 percent of Ukraine’s 9 million air travelers.

• Russia’s airlines have lost more than Ukrainian airlines during the nearly 2-year-old ban on flights between the two adversaries, Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan has said. Air traffic from Ukraine’s airports has returned to pre-2014 levels and Boryspil Airport has become a significant air transit hub, taking business from Moscows’ airports. Omelyan also predicted that Ryanair will fly out of Boryspil next year.


For comments and story tips, please email UBJ Editor in Chief, James Brooke at james.brooke@theubj.com

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