• The number of foreign tourists visiting Ukraine climbed by 8.7% during the first half of this year, hitting 6.3 million, according to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. In a counter flow, the number of Ukrainians who went abroad increased to 12.5 million, 6.1% more than in the same period of 2016. The most popular tourist destinations were Turkey, Egypt, Belarus, UAE, Israel and Greece.
• Poland, Russia and Hungary were the top three foreign destinations for Ukrainians in the first half of 2017, according to the State Border Guard Service. In first place, 4.3 million Ukrainians traveled to Poland, followed by 2.7 million to Russia and 1.5 million to Hungary. Visits to Russia were up 56 percent, compared to the same period last year.
• Wizz Air will double its flights from on the new Lviv-Wroclaw route from two to four this fall. This flight to the largest city in Western Poland started last April.
• MHP Agroholding plans to increase the farm land bank by 50 percent, to 550,000 hectares, in three to five years, according to a new non-financial report for the holding. During the same period, MHP, the largest producer of chicken meat in Ukraine, also plans to purchase meat processing facilities in the EU and Britain and to invest in food processing. In addition to poultry, MHP produces cereals, sunflower oil, and processed meats. Last year, MHP’s net profit was $69 million, up from a net loss of $113 million in 2015.
• In a reminder that Russia needs a back up routes to deliver gas to Europe, Naftogaz has agreed to temporarily ship an additional 47 million cubic meters of Gazprom gas to Europe. The increase is needed because the Nord Stream pipeline is closed for repairs.
• Ukraine is on track to pass a long-delayed pension reform "within weeks," helping to unlock another IMF loan tranche before year-end, Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk told Reuters. Danylyuk, who was in London on a roadshow to sell dollar bonds and swap short-term debt, also said the government was hopeful about passing a contentious land reform bill this year, despite opposition within parliament. Danylyuk predicted that one IMF tranche - worth $1.9 billion - would be received following a Fund mission to Kyiv this month.
• Ukraine has not ruled out legal action against the local unit of the PwC consultancy in order to recoup costs of bailing out Privatbank which had been audited by the firm, Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk told Reuters. Kiev has withdrawn PwC’s right to audit Ukrainian banks as punishment for what the central bank says was its failure to flag risky lending practices at the country’s largest lender, PrivatBank.
• The National Bank of Ukraine supports creating the Institute of Financial Ombudsman. Kateryna Rozhkova, deputy governor of the central bank, told Ukrinform that such an ombudsman would help bank clients deal with banks. A bill to create such an offices has been submitted to the Rada.
• The European Parliament proposes abolishing roaming charges for mobile calls between the EU and Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. It also wants to create an investment trust fund for Ukraine. These proposals are to be debated tomorrow (Thursday) by the Foreign Affairs Committee, Radio Liberty reports.
• Ihor Nasalyk, Minister of Energy and Coal Industry, has signed regulations to create an independent supervisory board for Ukrenergo. Ukrenergo operates regional and interstate power grids. Last March, the ministry instructed the largest state-owned enterprises in the energy sector to draw up regulations for creating independent supervisory boards.
• The Infrastructure Ministry and the Rada transport committee are discussing lowering above the waterline height limits on cargo ships passing through the Kerch Strait after Russia’s construction of the Kerch Bridge. Problems include the height of the main arch of the new bridge and a 3-year suspension of dredging in the Sea of Azov. Above water ship heights could be cut from eight meters to 7.5 meters or lower.
• A joint Austrian-Ukrainian honey production factory, Beehive.ukraine, has opened in the village of Cherniavka in central Ukraine’s Cherkasy region. The EUR 10 million high tech honey factory will employ 115 people. Stepan Kubiv, Economic Development and Trade Minister, noted Ukraine’s growing honey exports, saying at the opening: “People in many countries love Ukrainian honey.”
• GoldSky, one of China’s largest consumers of titanium sponge, has certified the titanium sponge produced by Zaporizhia Titanium and Magnesium Combine LLC. China is now the largest producer and consumer of this kind of titanium concentrate. Volodymyr Syvak, director of the company, said in a press release that, starting in 2015: “The company has begun to supply titanium sponge to the largest consumers in the United States, Europe and China for the aerospace industry,”
• A Swiss solar company Designergy, plans to enter Ukraine’s solar energy market with production and installation of roofs with integrated solar panels. Their first project will be in Smila, Cherkassy region, where the company will reconstruct the roof of the Dnepr Combine. Sergei Savchuk, chairman of the state energy efficiency agency, met with the Swiss representatives. Savchuk that during the first half of this year, 126.5 MW of capacity of renewable energy facilities have been installed under the "green" tariff plan.
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