• In a key indicator of small business activity, the Nova Poshta delivery service increased deliveries by 23% in the third quarter of this year, compared to the same period last year. The Kyiv-based service delivered 33 million items in the quarter. To handle growing volumes, the company says it will launch this fall its ‘National Terminal,’ saying: "The biggest sorting station in Ukraine with powerful modern equipment will speed up the processing and delivery of shipments."
• France’s Auchan plans to invest $50 million in the first stage of Les Vignes mall in Odesa’s southern Ovidiopolsky suburb. Located on 24 hectares at a key highway intersection, Les Vignes will start with an Auchan hypermarket, a 4,000 square meter gallery of boutiques, and 3,600 parking spaces. Directed by the group’s real estate unit, Imoshan Ukraine, later phases will include a 42,000 square meter retail park, and a 35,000 square meter entertainment center. The first stage is to be complete by the end of next year.
• Kernel is to invest $130 million to build an oilseed crushing plant in Khmelnytsky region by 2020. Located next to a Kernel silo, the plant will have a processing capacity of 1 million tons of sunflower seeds per year. The world's largest producer and exporter of sunflower oil, Kernel has had its shares traded on the Warsaw Stock Exchange for the last decade.
• Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman is impatient with forecasts of 3% GDP growth in 2018. Speaking to Canadian business leaders, he appealed for more investment, saying: “We plan 3% of GDP growth for next year. We understand that this is not enough, and we are ready to improve the figure. It is a question of attracting investment.”
• Ukraine’s new National Investment Council will include the CEOs of Cargill, General Electric, ArcelorMittal, Unilever, the EBRD and 14 other international companies, according to a presidential decree published Tuesday. Boris Lozhkin, advisor to President Poroshenko and secretary of the Council, posted on his Facebook page: "Almost every participant was invited personally, each confirmed his participation, and the list will be replenished."
• Despite dry weather verging on drought in the east, AgroGeneration, the French agro-holding, intends to harvest at the same level as last year – 390,000 tons. The company is investing EUR 5.7 million this year into renewing its farm machinery fleet.
Raiders have seized twice as many agri-businesses in 2017 as last year, Novoe Vremya newsweekly reports, citing The Anti-Raider Union of Entrepreneurs. The Union counted
“seven dozen” cases of forcible seizures of farms asince the beginning of this year, twice as many as in all of 2016.
• Asian importers have ordered 80,000 tons of Ukrainian apples, 2,000 tons of cherries, and 2,000 tons of fresh and processed berries, Vitaly Bigday, head of the Western NIS Enterprise Fund export promotion program, reports from Asia Fruit Logistiсa, a food fair in Hong Kong. Mounting a Ukraine stand for the first time at the fair, the exporters are: Agrovesna cooperative, Gadz farm, Jenogray JLLC, and Galfrost LLC. Greatest interest was shown by buyers from India, already the top buyer of Ukrainian sunflower cooking oil.
• Ukraine’s trade with Russia rebounded 25% through August, to $7.7 billion, compared to the same period last year, according to Russia’s Federal Customs Service. Russia had a surplus, although Ukraine’s exports to Russia grew faster, by 27%. Russia exported $4.7 billion to Ukraine. Ukraine exported. $3 billion to Russia.
• A second ship with 60,000 tons of US anthracite coal arrived Thursday at Yuzhny port. The vessel Victoria delivered steam coal from Pennsylvania for Centrenergo. After losing access to coal from secessionist-controlled mines in the Donbass, Centerenergo signed a contract last summer with XCOAL Energy & Resources to supply about 700,000 tons of anthracite coal through the end of this year.
• Naftogaz gas imports increased 53 percent through September, hitting 7.1 billion cubic, the state run company reports. Naftogaz said almost all of its imported gas came from Slovakia, but the gas came from 12 European suppliers including Germany, Switzerland, France, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Poland and Italy. Ukraine no longer imports gas directly from Russia. Ukraine produces about 20 bcm of gas per year. Last year, it consumed 32.4 bcm, importing 11.1 bcm, Reuters reports.
• For the third quarter in a row, business leaders raise their expectations for better business activity, according to a regular survey of Ukrainian business leaders conducted by the National Bank of Ukraine. In the third quarter of 2017, the index of business activity rose to 117.4%, from 114.3% over the summer. The most optimistic are managers in processing industries, transport, communications, and trade.
• Most Ukrainian CEOs -- 61.2% -- forecast the hryvnia exchange rate against the dollar will be UAH 27-30 through September of next year. The central bank's survey of the country's business leaders in the third quarter of 2017 yielded an expected average exchange rate of UAH 28.46 to the dollar. The hryvnia's historic low was at the height of fighting with Russia, in Feb. 2015, when it hit UAH 30 to the dollar.
• In the latest foreign exchange liberalization, the National Bank of Ukraine is allowing s banks and non-bank financial institutions to buy foreign currency under personal licenses issued by the NBU and send the foreign currency overseas. Separately, the central bank canceled the requirement to use seals and notarization for a number of documents.
• Passenger traffic at Kyiv Zhuliany is up by 67% through September, compared to the same period last year. Indicating that planes are flying packed, the number of flights was up only 29%. Reflecting Ukrainians desire to travel overseas, 95% percent of the 1.3 million passengers were international. The most popular international destinations were: Minsk, Dubai, Budapest, Antalya, Ankara, Sharm el-Sheikh, and Rome. The most popular domestic were: Odesa, Zaporozhye, and Lviv. Travel remains strong, with passenger flows through the airport up 89.5% in September, year over year.
• The Cabinet has allocated $200 million more to complete restoration of the Mariinsky Palace in Kyiv. Expected to become a major tourist attraction, the palace is to partially open to the public in January.
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UBJ a.m. is reported by UBJ Editor in Chief James Brooke, a former New York Times foreign correspondent and Bloomberg Moscow bureau chief. For comments and story tips, Brooke is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org