- France’s Powernext will work with Ukrtransgaz, the state gas pipeline and storage company, to create spot and futures exchange markets for gas trading in Ukraine, Ukrtransgaz reports. Based in Paris, Powernext is the main trading platform for natural gas in Europe. PEGAS, its pan-European gas trading platform, allows market participants to sell natural gas at 12 hubs in nine countries. Ukrtransgaz, with 12 underground gas storage facilities, the largest in Eastern Europe, wants to create a gas trading and storage hub in Ukraine.
- With today the deadline for bidding on 4G mobile service tenders, Ukraine’s three major companies – Vodaphone, Kyivstar and lifecell – already have submitted bids for six lots of 10MHz each. Minimum bids are $10 million per frequency. Friday is the deadline for applying for the more technically important 1,800 MHz range.
- EBRD’s loans to Ukraine projects rebounded by 37% last year, hitting EUR 800 million, Sevki Acuner, the bank’s Ukraine Director tells Interfax. He said he hopes the new privatization process will boost the bank’s portfolio, bringing it back to the levels of 2014 and 2015 when loan totals exceeded EUR 1 billion. He said: “The law on privatization, passed in parliament last week, will allow attracting more large foreign investors."
- From the US, WorldBusiness Capital announced an $8 million, 10-year commercial loan to Dnipro’s Bank Vostok. Guaranteed by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the loan will enable Bank Vostok to expand lending to local small and medium-sized enterprises involved in processing and export of food. From Hartford, Connecticut, Rob Monyak, the American bank’s executive vice president, said: “Bank Vostok’s client base is concentrated among exporters and suppliers to exporters. In this way, additional funding for Bank Vostok is a means to reach the enterprises that play a crucial role in generating hard currency and fostering economic growth in Ukraine.”
- To slow labor migration, Ukraine is negotiating with the EU a broad program of loans and grants to small and medium-sized businesses, Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin told reporters Monday. With labor migration now affecting the entire nation, Klimkin said he is working with European Commission and the European Investment Bank to set up and fund “a broad microcredit and micro-grant program for small and medium-sized businesses in Ukraine. Only such a business will effectively preserve jobs."
- Lending to households and to small and medium-sized enterprises will increase this year, and to "Credit Conditions Survey," a regular survey of banks conducted by the National Bank of Ukraine. According to the survey, 72% of banks expect an increase to increase their corporate loan portfolios. On household lending 67% of the polled banks expected increase, the highest percentage since the the survey was started, in 2015.
- Ukraine has 25 tons of gold in reserves, Oleh Churiy, deputy governor of the National Bank of Ukraine told reporters Monday. In dollars, reserves increased 21% last year, to $18.8 billion. Churiy said: “Gold and foreign exchange reserves in gold total about $1 billion: 25 tons of gold, which can be placed in a cube of 1x1x1 m.”
- Ukraine’s total debt to the IMF is $12.1 billion, Oleg Churiy said at the same briefing. The National Bank of Ukraine owes the IMF $ 7.2 billion, and the Ministry of Finance owes the IMF $ 4.9 billion.
- Oleh Churiy said Monday he does not expect major currency volatility, but the central bank has sold around $160 million since the start of 2018 to support the hryvnia, Reuters reports.
- Ukraine could return to international bond markets by June and raising funds through Eurobond sales will not impair Ukraine's drive to reform, Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk told Reuters in London on Monday. “We have plans for this year and investors are waiting for us," he said, adding it was "a possibility" this could happen before the end of June. Asked about the IMF’s criticism of a proposed anti-corruption court, he said: “"I hope we will get a document that will satisfy everyone.”
- After the fireworks of last year’s visa-free regime, “European integration in 2018 will be ‘quiet,’ barely visible and incomprehensible to the general public, but not less important to the future of the country,” Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration writes in Mirror Weekly. Behind the scenes, government officials should implement the EU Association agreement by “harmonizing legislation in such areas as public procurement, sanitary and fitosanitary measures, financial, postal and courier services, maritime international transportation.”
- Ukraine probably has natural gas reserves of 5.5 trillion cubic meters, enough for almost 200 years of consumption at last year’s level of 28.4 billion cubic meters. The estimate comes from a UNIAN interview with Andrei Tolkunov, geology head of Ukrgeofizika, the state geological and mineral exploration company. After years of marginal production growth, the government cut drilling and production royalties in half this month and invited more foreign companies to explore here.
- Ukraine aims to be self-sufficient in natural gas by 2022, the government's press service said Monday, citing Prime Minister Groysman. To reach this goal, Ukraine will invest in energy efficiency and in greater production. Last year, Ukraine cut gas consumption by 6.3%compared to 2016, Ukrtransgaz reports.
- Retail sales increased by 8.8% last year, according to the State Statistics Service. Last month, sales were up 16.1%, compared to December 2016. For the year, sales growth of 11% or high was recorded in six regions: Zakarpattia, Odesa, Lviv, Cherkasy, Kyiv and Vinnytsia.
- From Singapore, 20 Ukrainian food companies presented their products Monday in the island state, part of Ukraine’s first trade mission to Singapore and neighboring Malaysia. Attending were representatives of 50 Singapore companies, including the major supermarket chains serving this affluent nation of 5.6 million people. Dmytro Senyk, Ukraine’s ambassador to Singapore, said bilateral trade has doubled in two years. He said: "The potential is huge, given the unique role of this country as a logistical and commercial hub in Asia as well as an important member of ASEAN.” The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a common market for 630 million people. Singapore alone has a GDP three times larger than Ukraine’s.
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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