- GE Transportation and Ukraine’s government finalized a deal Monday on a major rolling stock upgrade program that could could be worth $1 billion through 2025. In the first step, UkrZaliznytsya to take delivery in September of 30 new locomotives containing parts made and serviced in Ukraine. Yevhen Kravtsov, acting CEO of the state railway said: "This will allow UkrZaliznytsya to solve its locomotive deficit problem before the next seasonal peak load." Locomotives are to be assembled at Kryukov Carriage Works, Kremenchuk, with local content rising to 40%. The agreement was finalized at a meeting that included Rafael Santana, CEO of GE Transport, with Prime Minister Groysman. Daniel Bilak, director of UkraineInvest, said later: “The entry of a top-tier global brand like GE into the market is important evidence of the on-going improvement of Ukraine’s business climate and a signal to other major players to begin investing in Ukraine.”
- Agro giant Astarta is considering renting or buying grain hopper rail cars next year. Viktor Ivanchik, the company’s main shareholder, told journalists Monday: “The issue of purchasing wagons or renting them is very acute. We are considering both options.”
- Faced with complaints about labor migration out of Ukraine, President Poroshenko responded: “Please: pay more to your workers!” At a meeting sponsored by the European Business Association and the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, Anna Derevyanko, executive director of the EBA, said Friday that, due to steady outflow of workers, the real population of Ukraine in the area controlled by Kyiv is 35 million, not the 42 million figure often used. Vyacheslav Klimov, a co-owner of Nova Poshta, the “lines of people” waiting to work at his delivery company have disappeared. Poroshenko responded, telling employers to adapt with the times: “These are the positive consequences of reforms, of the opening of borders, and of the European choice.”
- Speaking to foreign business leaders, President Poroshenko said that 60 percent of international companies working in Ukraine no longer answer to the Moscow regional offices, but to European headquarters.
- President Poroshenko proposed Monday to raised the minimum wage to UAH 4,100 UAH, or about $150 a month, on Jan. 1. This would be a 28% raise in one year, about double the rate of inflation.
- Locally generated tax revenues of city budgets have more than doubled in the last four years, hitting $6.3 billion today, President Petro Poroshenko told a conference of municipalities on Monday. As a result of Ukraine’s fiscal decentralization, the locally generated portion of city budgets has grown from 30% a decade ago to about 50% today, he said.
- The 2018 state budget is to be passed this week by the Rada, Prime Minister Groysman predicts. The nearly $40 billion budget is predicated on GDP growth of 3% and inflation at 7%.
- Hugues Mingarelli, head of the EU Delegation here, praised Ukraine for creating three anti-corruption agencies in the last two years. He told the Civil Society Smart Reforms Assembly in Kyiv on Friday: “Well done. And now, please, give these institutions autonomy and resources to carry out their tasks. Otherwise, they are of no use.”
- Ukrainians will be offered referendums on joining NATO and the European Union in the "near future," President Petro Poroshenko said Friday. About 43 percent of Ukrainians support joining the Western military alliance and 56 percent of Ukrainians support joining the EU, according to a public opinion poll conducted in November.
- Ukraine's steel production through November fell 13% year-on-year to 19.4 million tons, according to Ukrmetallurgprom, Ukraine’s steel producers' union. Last year, steel production rose 5.5%, to 24.2 million tons. This year, steel output is likely to total 21.1 million tons.
- The lack of a private farm land market retards investment and economic growth in Ukraine, Gösta Ljungman, the IMF Resident Representative, said Monday. Speaking at a land policy conference, Ljungman, a Swede, said: "The absence of a land market does not promote economic development, does not allow investment to enter the country."
- A Turkish solar developer is to build a 15 MW solar power plant in Ochakiv, Mykolaiv region. A solar park will be built on a 23-hectare site and several public buildings, such as schools, will be outfitted solar roof panels. The development is to be carried out next year by Eko Yenilenebilir Enerjiler A.S. (EkoRE)
- Next spring, construction starts on the Radisson Blu in Odesa, renovating the historic Seamen's Palace on Primorsky Boulevard, overlooking Potemkin Steps. The project, undertaken by Double W developer of Odesa, has attracted EUR40 million in international financing. Part of this money, from the Danish Investment Fund, and the Nordic Environmental Fund (NEFCO) will go for design work and equipment to help the four star hotel meet international LEED green certification.
- Belarus, Turkey and Israel were the fastest growing sources of visitors to Ukraine during the first nine months of this year. Although each country supplied about 2 million tourists, growth rates varied: Belarus up 50%, Turkey up 41% and Israel up 26%. Arrivals from Russia, Poland and Hungary declined slightly, with each nation sending about 1 million visitors here. Overall, Ukraine received 11.1 million foreign tourists through September, 6.9% more than last year. On the outbound side, the Economic Development and Trade Ministry, reports that 20.3 million Ukrainian tourists traveled abroad through September, a 9.2% increase.
- Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelyan predicts that in 2018 competition among low cost carriers will drive the average price of tickets for flights between Ukraine and European destinations to the EUR 30 to 50 range. At present, Wizz Air is expanding in Ukraine. Talks are to resume next year with Ryanair.
- At part of its Polish expansion, Ukraine International Airlines starts flights Dec. 26. from Kyiv Boryspil to Krakow, Poland’s second largest city. The route is to become daily in mid-January. UIA will use its Embraer 145 regional jets for the 1h45 minute flights. UIA recently won permission to fly next year to three other Polish regional airports: Gdansk, Poznan, Wroclaw.
- UIA has placed on sale tickets for its new flight from Boryspil to Toronto, which starts June 6. Round trip tickets, all taxes included, start at $659 for the flight, which is 10h25 minute from Ukraine to Canada.
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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 email@example.com