•Key steel producers, which account for 12 percent of Ukraine’s GDP, said at a meeting last week with Prime Minister Volodomyr Groysman that the continuation of the Donbas blockade would cost them $3.5 billion and cause the loss of nearly 100,000 jobs, Unian reported. Stocks of the coal needed to keep the plants running are growing scarce, and Ukraine is in a bind because the only viable supplier of that necessary coal is Russia.
•The Silk Road Forum, an international exhibition focusing on China and the countries of the Silk Road, debuted to such success in Kyiv in 2016 that it will become an annual occurrence, according to a Ukrinform report. Scheduled for November, the second Silk Road Forum is expected to draw 1,000 exhibitors, including Ukrainians touting investment projects in their home country.
•The International Monetary Fund reached a staff-level agreement with Ukraine on review of the latest tranche of financial assistance to the country, according to Unian. That paves the way for the IMF executive board to take up the issue.
•The government is initiating a program aimed at increasing Ukraine’s production of agricultural machinery by roughly $110 million, Ukrinform reported, quoting Prime Minister Volodomyr Groysman. The goal is to capture 30 percent of this market, and Groysman said the endeavor will provide “tens of thousands of jobs.”
•Some 5,000 new jobs were created in Ukraine last year thanks to German investment, Ukrinform quoted Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin as saying. Klimkin added that a thousand German companies are doing business in Ukraine and that bilateral cooperation in trade and investment will expand.
•The Kharkiv Tractor Plant will receive orders from the government in 2017, including work that is part of the program to substitute domestic goods in the military sphere, President Petro Poroshenko said Friday while visiting the factory.
•Ukrainian tycoon Oleksandr Yaroslavsky said he is interested in acquiring the government-owned Turboatom only if a controlling interest in the company is offered for sale, according to Interfax Ukraine. That conflicts with the plans of the government, which opposes full privatization and wants to partner with global manufacturers of Turboatom products so the company has a chance of entering the international market.
•Ukraine’s central bank plans to solicit a forensic auditor in late March or early April to investigate PrivatBank transactions that took place before the bank was nationalized late last year, National Bank chief Valeria Gontareva said. The NBU said the Ukrainian office of international auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers had incorrectly appraised the value of PrivatBank collateral, and the central bank expects the PwC office in the country to be closed as a result.
•Receipts in the Ukrainian national budget in January and February exceeded expectations by 9 percent, Interfax Ukraine reported. Revenues from the collection of taxes and customs duties increased sharply during that period.
•The average price of Ukrainian farm produce sold in 2016 rose 9 percent from 2015, according to the State Statistics Service. The biggest price increases by individual product were seen in grains, oilseeds and sugar beets.
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