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1:34 AM Friday, July 28, 2017
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UBJ AM News: Feb. 20, 2017
IMF negotiations hit the home stretch, George Soros heats up investment in Ukraine, and the coal crisis appears to have eased.
image/svg+xml Kyiv Lutsk Rivne Zhytomyr Lviv Ternopil Khmelnytskyi Uzhgorod Chernivtsi Vinnytsia Chernigiv Sumy Kharkiv Poltava Cherkasy Kirovohrad Lugansk Dnipropetrovsk Donetsk Zaporizhzhia Mykolaiv Odesa Kherson Simferopol Sevastopol Ivano- Frankivsk

Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said negotiations with the International Monetary Fund are in the final stage and preparations for the signing of the updated memorandum are underway, according to Interfax Ukraine. He added that the memorandum doesn't call on Ukraine to raise the retirement age.

About two dozen Ukrainian companies have gotten investment offers from interested Americans since billionaire George Soros got the ball rolling in 2015, Novoe Vremya and television program Persha Shpalta reported. In November 2015, Soros invested in the data company Ciklum, which has a major office in Ukraine, and since then, other New York investors have followed suit. The surge has made the Ukrainian IT sector a hot commodity.

The Ukrainian power grid will be able to operate as normal without any blackouts until mid-March, Ukrenergo boss Vsevolod Kovalchuk said. He said anthracite coal stocks at power company warehouses are over 800,000 tons and over 100,000 tons at heating plant warehouses.

Only two power plants in Ukraine have coal reserves that are insufficient for 40 days, but any coal shortage can be promptly resolved by imports from Poland and Kazakhstan, Ukrinform reported. In addition, Ukraine will consider a possibility of purchasing coal from South Africa, China and Australia.

The National Bank of Ukraine thinks the banking sector could see a profit this year, not taking into account PrivatBank, the NBU reported on its website. The key factors are reduction of the amount transferred to reserves and an increase in interest revenue.

Ukraine has significantly increased its share of nuclear energy in the overall energy portfolio of the country, from 47 percent to almost 60 percent, President Petro Poroshenko said, according to Ukrinform.

A Kyiv regional court ordered the seizure of the Caravan shopping center property in Kyiv, Novoe Vremya reported, citing Ukrainski Novyny. The seizure also applies to an office building on the property, which is part of the holdings of Ukrainian businessman Viktor Yaroslavsky. In January, it was reported that the Caravan retail chain is being acquired by French megastore Auchan, but that deal has been slow to materialize.

Ukrainians paid $53 million in real estate tax to local government coffers in 2016, nearly double the amount they paid the previous year, Unian reported based on numbers from the State Fiscal Service.

The Polish government is considering significant changes in the country's employment procedures that would affect Ukrainians, Novoe Vremya reported, citing the Polish-Ukrainian newspaper Nash Vybir. The application mechanism that permits citizens of various countries, including Ukraine, to work in Poland for up to six months without a work visa could be made permanent and given the force of law.

The Cabinet will increase funding for the program that compensates producers for the cost of agricultural equipment made in Ukraine. The amount will rise to $36.5 million in 2018, according to Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, Unian reported.

A group of lawmakers is going to court in hopes of forcing the government to jettison its ban on private land sales and create a market to make such sales possible, Novoe Vremya reported.

For comments and news tips, please email UBJ AM editor David Edwards at david.edwards@theubj.com.

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