- A global stock market survey by Bloomberg found that the fastest growing exchange in the world in 2017 was the Ukrainian Equities Index, which rose by 80%. The Ukraine UX tracks trades on the Kyiv-based Ukrainian Exchange. Ukraine’s other main exchange, the PFTS, saw its index increase by 19% in 2017. By contrast, the WIG Ukraine Index fell by 8% last year. This index charts the seven Ukrainian companies listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Last year, it rose by 41%.
- A kidnapped crypto currency exchange executive was released in Kyiv after a $1 million ransom was paid in bitcoin, Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Interior Minister Arsen Avakov told Reuters and the Financial Times on Friday. Pavel Lerner, a Russian citizen, was kidnapped by six gun-toting men in dark clothing and balaclavas who grabbed him off a street in Kyiv on Tuesday and pushed him into a minibus with stolen number plates, Strana.ua, news website reports. The next day, a denial of service attack hit his company, EXMO Finance, which is based in Britain.
- Chinese companies are negotiating with Kyiv officials to build “ring-road around Kyiv, a traffic intersection in the city center, and a 37 km long road connecting the capital with its [left bank] suburb of Brovary,” Xinhua reports. In a survey of China-Ukraine relations, China’s news agency cites: a Chinese agreement in November to build Kyiv’s fourth metro line; Chinese dredging of Yuzhny port “aimed at expanding maritime productivity while boosting Ukraine's grain exports by 15 percent,” and new contracts won by two Chinese companies to “modernize three key highways in western, northern and central Ukraine.” With bilateral trade to be up around 17% this year, Xinhua said China now is Ukraine’s third largest trading partner, after the EU and Russia. “This year, Ukrainian exporters delivered more than 220 new products to the Chinese market, with agricultural goods leading the list,” reported the article, headlined: “Sino-Ukrainian partnership gains new vigor in 2017.”
- Odesa Region, the major point of entry for trade with China, has signed a cooperation agreement with China’s Jiangxi province. Spanning the banks of the Yangtze River, in southeast China, Jiangxi has a population of 45 million, slightly bigger than Ukraine’s. Unlike Ukraine, Jiangxi’s economic has been growing at double digits for most of the last decade. As a result, the provincial economy is now almost twice as large as Ukraine’s. From Odesa, cooperation is foreseen in food processing and developing ports and highways under China’s “Silk Road” program.
- Ukraine's grain exports will decline for the first time in five years in the current marketing year, Maksym Martynyuk, the country's First Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food. During the marketing year, which runs between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, Ukraine expects to sell 41 million tons, down 6% from last year, he told Interfax. Martynyuk places much of the blame on logistical bottlenecks, notably lack of rail wagons to carry grain to Black Sea ports. Ukraine supplies 8% of the world’s internationally traded grain.
- With grain harvests growing far faster than storage capacity in Lviv region, eight grain elevators with a combined storage capacity of 68,000 tons are under construction. Last November, UkrAgroConsult reports, a ninth elevator, with a 7,500 storage capacity was built for Dzvony Agrofirm in the village of Bolotnya. Last fall, the region’s harvest of grains and oil seeds topped 1.4 million tons.
- Poland will build 1,000 km of fencing along roads and highways near Ukraine and Belarus in an attempt to stop deadly invaders from the east: wild boar. Major carriers of African swine fever, wild boar are blamed for pockets of infection that have reached the Warsaw region. Domestic pig herds infected with the fever have been destroyed across Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. In addition to spending $37 million on fencing, Poland is giving hunters paid leave of up to six days to shoot wild boar. Harmless to humans but deadly to pigs, the current virus outbreak started in Georgia’s port of Poti a decade ago and has spread through Russia, the Baltics, Belarus and now Ukraine.
- Foreign gas drillers are invited to bid through Feb. 8 on tenders for 42 new wells for
- Ukrgazvydobuvannia, the state gas production company. Placed through the ProZorro tender system, the winning bids value is expected to hit $225 million. As part of a drive to return Ukraine to self-sufficiency in gas by 2020, the state company earlier tendered 90 wells for drilling in Kharkiv and Poltava regions. During the 1970s, Ukraine was largest gas producing republic of the Soviet Union.
- In 2017, the hryvnia lost 5% against the dollar, 11% against the ruble, and 21% against the euro, the National Bank of Ukraine reports. On Friday, the last day of interbank trading the exchange was 28.0672 hryvnia / dollar, compared to 26.6924 hryvnia / dollar on the first day of trading last January.
- Ukraine's balance of payments surplus grew 2.6 times through November, to $2.6 billion, against a surplus of $987 million in the same period of 2016, according to the National Bank of Ukraine.
- Bolstered this year by two Christmas holiday dates, the nation’s Christmas ornament business is thriving, with exports up 34% this year, Nataliya Mykolska, Ukraine’s chief trade negotiator writes on Facebook. “During the first 10 months of 2017, Ukraine exported $6.1 million worth of Christmas ornaments,” Mykolska wrote Sunday. “Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, and Belarus are among the top five countries that import Christmas decorations from Ukraine.” Next Sunday, much of Ukraine celebrates orthodox Christmas, taking Monday Jan. 8 off as a bank holiday
- Kyiv will soon have a new tourist attraction – an Apple museum 10,000 km east of the U.S. company’s California headquarters. Expected to open this summer, the museum is the brainchild of Oleksandr Kosovan, founder and CEO of MacPaw, a company that makes CleanMyMac software and Setapp, a Mac application subscription service. A Mac fan since his days at Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, Kosovan learned in 2016 that Tekserve, the legenday Mac repair store was closing. Friends brought the store’s historic collection from New York to Kyiv, one computer at a time. Then Kosovan bought a Mac collection from Poland. The museum is to open in Kyiv in July as part of festivities marking MacPaw’s 10th anniversary.
- Flights from Odesa to Berlin, Frankfurt and Bergamo (Milan) are to start this summer. At present, Odesa has only one flight to Western Europe, to Vienna on Austrian Airlines. Interfax reports that last week the State Aviation Service approved flights by Ukraine International Airlines from Odesa to the two German cities. The airline is negotiating with the airport about the flight to Italy.
- Reflecting Wizz Air’s commitment to expanding flights from Ukraine this year, the discount airline will hold a “Pilot Open House Day” next week in Kyiv. Wizz Air is looking for pilots, with preference to Air Force veterans, to fly the additional Airbus A320 that will be based in Zhuliany starting this spring.
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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