- Energoatom has signed a nuclear supply contract that will keep Russia as the majority supplier of fuel to Ukraine through 2025. Although President Poroshenko declared in Washington last June that “it is time for Westinghouse to be the majority supplier,” the new contract allows Westinghouse Electric Co. to supply its Swedish-made fuel to only seven of Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors, from 2021 to 2025. Nationalists in the Rada question why Energoatom wants to continue spending $400 million a year on fuel from Russia’s Rosatom.
- Electricity exports jumped 55% last year, to $235 million, reports the Ministry Energy and Coal Industry. The top three buyers were: Hungary -- $136 million; Moldova -- $54 million; and Poland -- $34 million. In kilowatt hours, the increase was 29%, to 5.2 billion kWh. Ukraine’s imports – from Russia and Belarus – fell by 39%, to 48 million kWh. This is less than one percent of exports.
- Ukraine has 3.2G in planned wind projects, 10 times the current installed amount, Andriy Konechenkov, board chair of the Ukrainian Wind Energy Association, tells UNIAN. Ukraine has 505 MW of installed wind projects, but almost half of that capacity is in Crimea and secessionist-controlled areas of the Donbas. High ‘green’ electricity tariffs expire Dec. 31, 2019. To beat the deadline, new wind farms are to be built this year in Ivano-Frankivsk, Kherson, Mykolaiv, Odesa and Zaporizhia regions.
- Ukraine's food exports rose 16% last year to $17.9 billion, the highest level in five years, reports the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food. Top three staples of food exports were grain crops -- 36%; vegetable oils -- 25%; and oilseeds --11%. The top five buyers are: India, the Netherlands, Egypt, Spain and China. Exports to Asian countries totaled 43%, to the European Union – 32%, African countries – 14%, the CIS – 8%, and the US – 0.4%.
- Increasing farm subsidies, Kyiv will supply $10 million to fruit growers to buy planting stock, $35 million to grain growers to buy equipment and $140 million to livestock farmers to expand herds.
- Ovostar Union, a leading egg producer, increased its egg exports by 72% last year, to 529 million eggs. In a posting on the website of the Warsaw Stock Exchange the company says it raised egg production last year by 12%, hitting 1.7 billion eggs. This increase came about as the number of laying hens increased by only 1.2%, to 6.6 million.
- BSH Home Appliances plans to increase sales in Ukraine this year by 20-30% Sergey Maksimov, CEO of the company’s Ukraine distributor, tells reporters. Last year’s growth was also 20%. Biggest selling items are dishwashers, refrigerators, and vacuum cleaners. Growth is partly due to demand pent up since 2014, the year the market dropped by one half. It also is partly due to stable prices – 5% last year, compared to inflation of 13.7%. This year, the company plans to open five more Bosch and Siemens stores in Ukraine, a 10 percent increase. In addition to sales through Foxtrot, Eldorado, and Comfy, the company now sells about 25% of its appliances online, a high level for Europe.
- In secessionist-controlled Donbas, 36 mines are completely flooded and cannot be restored, reports Ostap Semerak, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources. He said: "The flooding is approaching the critical limit, which can result in an ecological tragedy: contamination of groundwater, rivers and soils. Lost mines cannot be restored. They pose a serious threat to the environment and the health of the people living there."
- In the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine’s annual member survey of corruption perceptions, 91% of respondents said they had faced corruption while doing business in Ukraine, but 76% said they saw no need to engage in corruption to achieve success. Of the 184 respondents, 36% of respondents believe the level of corruption has decreased, a drop from last year’s level of 47%. In the Corruption Perception Survey, 71% of respondents said the most corrupt state institutions are the courts, followed by tax and customs authorities at 54%, and local government authorities at 34%. With 80% of respondents representing multinational companies, 89% of the total believe that combating corruption is a priority for improving Ukraine’s business climate.
- About 700 foreign companies now work in Ukraine, offering modern working conditions and decent salaries, Prime Minister Groysman writes this on his Facebook page. Because this he wrote: “It is extremely important to create favorable investment climate in Ukraine. First of all, this means thousands of new jobs."
- Pharmaceutical sales, measured by volume, increased by 12%, to 1.5 billion packets, Business Credit company tells Interfax-Ukraine. Retail sales of medicines in 2017 in monetary terms increased by 12%, to 943 million packets.
- Fitch Ratings predicts Ukraine will receive $1.9 billion in IMF loans this year. Fitch, one of the Big Three credit rating agencies, writes: "Constant interaction with the IMF and other international partners remains key to ensuring Ukraine's access to official and external financing for servicing the public debt in 2020-2021." Fitch also said the nomination of Yakiv Smoliy to run the National Bank of Ukraine should reduce uncertainty about stability and independence of the central bank.
- Alfa-Bank and Ukrsotsbank, both owned by ABH Holdings SA, will be merged into one bank operating under the same brand, reports Ivan Svitek, CEO of the Alfa Group banking group in Ukraine, tells Interfax. The merger will take place over the next 18 months. The brand name has not been decided.
- Qatar is interested in investing Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, either through privatization or concession contracts, Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan says after meeting in Doha Monday with Jassim Al Sulaiti, Qatar’s Minister of Transport and Communications. After a separate meeting with Akbar Al Baker, CEO of Qatar Airways, Omelyan posted on his Facebook account: “We hope that the geography of flights will not be limited to just Kyiv-Doha.” He was accompanied on his trip by the directors of Lviv and Kharkiv airports.
- Kharkiv Airport is negotiating with Ryanair about flights to eastern Ukraine’s largest airport, Vladislav Ilyin, the airport’s commercial director, tells the Center for Transport Technologies website. Infrastructure Minister Omelyan predicts that Ryanair, Europe’s largest discount airline, will start flying to Ukraine this spring. In April, Wizz Air starts flying from Kharkiv to Dortmund, Germany, and in June to Katowice, Poland. Catching the eye of Europe’s airlines, traffic to Kharkiv last year jumped 34% to 806,200, the highest level in a generation.
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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