- The net inflow of foreign direct investment to Ukraine was $2.3 billion last year, Prime Minister Groysman told government officials Wednesday. He added: "Last year we attracted 2.3 billion dollars in direct investment. This is a good figure, but not sufficient."
- General Electric Transportation and Ukrzaliznytsia, the state railroad, are to sign next week a cooperation agreement for building GE locomotives in Ukraine. With production expected to be at the Kriukiv Railway Car Manufacturing Plant in Kremenchuk, the rate of localization is to rise from 10% at the start to 40% several years from now. Ukrzaliznytsia’s sole locomotive plant is in a part of Luhansk now controlled by separatists. According to some reports, the main machinery has been shipped to Russia.
- A Chinese state company will loan $500 million to finance a Ukrainian state mortgage project here for residential housing. Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers approved on Wednesday the loan from China National Complete Engineering Corporation, or CCEC. Homebuyers will get 15-year mortgages at 4.5% interest a year. At present, most houses and apartments are sold for cash. Lev Partskhaladze, deputy minister of regional development, construction and housing, hailed the loan, writing on Facebook: “Under simplified leasing conditions, more citizens will be able to purchase their own housing.”
- Ukraine’s corn exports to China are expected to rise by 25% this year, to 2 million tons, UkrAgroConsult forecasts. In the last week, three Panamax ship cargoes were sold to China, with ADM, Ameropa and Nibulon said to be among the sellers.
- Lviv Tobacco Factory, Ukraine’s only cigarette producer, is preparing to undergo an international standard audit with an eye to an IPO in 2019. The company has about 9% share of a market that is gradually shrinking, more recently because of a new 29% tax on cigarettes. Dengi.ua reports that the owners “are negotiating with a Chinese tobacco company about possible investment in production.”
- Polish retail operator LPP Group plans to expand its Ukraine retail space by 24% this year, adding 10 new stores. Selling the brands Reserved, Cropp, House, Mohito, and Sinsay, LPP currently has in Ukraine 88 stores and 49,000 square meters. Claudia Skorlutovskaya, LPP spokeswoman, told Interfax-Ukraine: "The Ukrainian market is characterized by significant sales potential.”
- The average monthly salary in Ukraine will exceed UAH 10,000, or $357, this year, Prime Minister Groysman predicted Wednesday. Adjusted for inflation, real wages grew 19% in 2017 and 9% in 2016, he said. He added: “Prices are rising. So our task is to make people's income grow faster than prices rise.
- GDP growth in the last quarter of 2017 was 1.8%, the State Statistics Service reports. With this figure, Ukraine’s economic growth slowed every quarter of last year: Q4 2016 was 4.5%, Q1 was 2.5%, Q2 was 2.3%, and Q3 was 2.1%. The National Bank of Ukraine forecasts a reversal this year, with the GDP growing at 3.4%.
- Business sentiment indicators point to economic recovery, reports the State Statistics Service. Using a standard methodology promoted by the IMF, Ukraine’s economic sentiment indicator in Q1 is 110.1%. That is 30% higher than the level of 84.5% recorded one year ago.
- Ukraine recorded a $2.6 billion trade deficit last year, a reversal from a $540 million trade surplus in 2016, the State Statistics Service reports. Exports increased by 16% to $52.3 billion. Imports increased by 23% to $55 billion. In trade with the EU, exports grew 27%, to $20 billion. Imports grew 19% to $23.3 billion. In trade with CIS countries, exports increased by 9% to $10.7 billion. Imports – propelled by coal purchases from Russian -- jumped by 31% to $12.1 billion.
- About 14,000 Ukrainian companies exported their goods to EU market last year, Mykola Tochytsky, Ukraine’s representative to the EU tells Ukrinform. Noting that 734 new Ukrainian companies started selling their product to the EU last year, he said: “The share of the EU in the structure of Ukraine's foreign trade now is almost 43%. In 2013, this figure was slightly more than 20%."
- In this decade, Ukraine has switched from tomato paste importer to tomato paste exporter, reports the website Tomato News. François-Xavier Branthôme, roving tomato correspondent, reports that Ukraine’s tomato production this year is to hit 730,000 tons, about three times the level of 2010. Growth came from increasing tomato fields by 25% and by doubling yields to 90 tons per hectare. Most growth comes from Inagro’s Agrofusion, which last year produced 83% of the nation’s tomato paste. After Russia, Ukraine’s main market, abruptly closed its doors in 2014, Ukraine turned West, quickly becoming a regional tomato power. Today, Ukraine is the largest exporter of tomato paste to Poland.
- Ukraine’s two Danube River ports, Izmail and Reni, are to be dredged this summer, reports Ukraine’s Seaports Administration. With an estimated cost of $1.3 million cost, foreign and national dredging companies are invited to participate by March 12 in a ProZorro electronic tender. Increasingly appreciated as Ukraine’s waterway to the heart of Europe, the western Odesa region ports report handling combined cargo of 316,500 tons in January, up five times yoy. Chinese companies are interested in Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company, which could be privatized this year.
- Ukraine’s state railroad plans to launch this summer “Five Capitals” – a north-south train that will travel Kiev-Minsk-Vilnius-Riga-Tallinn and back, Yevgeny Kravtsov, chairman of Ukrzaliznytsia, tells UNIAN. A one-way ticket will be about $50 – half the price of air tickets to the Baltics. Along with Ukrzaliznytsia’s other international trains this year, the Five Capitals will offer a new feature – duty free shopping.
- Expanding its Ukraine flight network to six cities, Polish LOT airlines will launch service between Warsaw and Zaporizhia on July 2. Flying six days a week, LOT will use Embraer regional jets for the two hour flights. With scheduled flights to Minsk, Tel Aviv, Kyiv’s two airports and Istanbul’s two airports, Zaporizhia International Airport saw its passenger traffic increase last year by 26.5%, to 348,438 -- 10 times the volume of 2010.
- Odesa gets its first flights to Germany this summer when UIA starts service in June to Frankfurt Hahn and in July to Berlin Schoenefeld. The flights will be twice a week on a Boeing 737-800, the main aircraft of Ukraine International Airlines.
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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