•On Wednesday evening, the International Monetary Fund sent Ukraine the final draft of the memorandum that, upon being signed by Ukraine, will enable the IMF to take up consideration of the fourth tranche of monetary aid, NBU head Valeria Gontareva said. Finance Minister Oleksandr Danyliuk told Zerkalo Nedyeli that the signing of the memorandum with the IMF is a few days away.
•Ukraine and the European Union spent two days in high level talks focused on the development of Ukrainian industry, Ukrinform reported. The Ukrainian delegation and its EU counterparts discussed individual industrial sectors and held six working groups within the dialogue framework.
•Organizers of the Donbas blockade are proclaiming a second phase of their movement by obstructing automobile traffic on roadways in addition to the rail transportation blockade, Unian reported.
•National Bank of Ukraine head Valeria Gontareva said that if the blockade in the Donbas ends soon, the negative effect on GDP and the balance of payments will be negligible, Interfax Ukraine reported. However, if the blockade lasts though the year, then Ukraine's GDP growth in 2017 will be only 1.5 percent, which is 1.3 percentage points lower than the initial estimate for the year.
•Ukraine exported almost 3 million roses in 2016, a threefold increase from 2015, according to multiple sources. Major buyers were Poland (50 percent of total exports), Belarus (29 percent) and the Netherlands (20 percent). If the time frame is extended back one more year, to 2014, then Ukrainian rose exports have grown 30 times over.
•The central bank said that this month or next month, the government will do a forensic audit of the nationalized financial behemoth PrivatBank to check for malfeasance, and Ukraine intends to attract an international company for the task, Novoe Vremya quoted NBU head Valeria Gontareva as saying.
•Ukraine has suffered about $1 billion in direct financial losses from Russia's trade war, a deputy economic development minister said in an interview with Zerkalo Nedyeli.
•Ukrainian International Airlines is offering passengers the option of paying extra to choose their seat on flights, Avianews.com reported. The charge is between $5 and $10.
•The Justice Ministry promised to get rid of 100 documents and acts that interfere with the conduct of business, Ekonomicheskaya Pravda reported. The move comes on the heels of a previous simplification by the government over the past year that eliminated 360 administrative policies that posed barriers to business.
•The Odesa portside chemical plant is going online again after being idle for two months. After two failed privatization attempts, the plant temporarily suspended operations in December. In February, shareholders gave preliminary consent to the leasing of plant property.
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