Ukraine

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8:22 AM Friday, December 15, 2017
UBJ.am
UBJ.am - Wednesday, December 6
$7 billion pipeline of Chinese projects? Austria’s Billa supermarket chain to expand by 40%, largely in Kyiv; Kyiv Metro to get 4G in one year
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  • Up to $7 billion in Chinese investments could flow to Ukraine in coming years, Ukrinform reported Tuesday evening after the meeting between Ma Kai, a visiting Chinese vice premier, and Prime Minister Groysman. The state-owned news agency did not define “the respective agreements” reached between the two leaders.
  • Ma Kai, who has an economic portfolio, painted an expansive picture of future Chinese economic cooperation. Going beyond well known areas of Chinese investment -- “the agricultural sphere or the construction of infrastructure facilities”-- the Chinese official added: “We are also interested in technological cooperation, the creation of industrial parks, and cooperation in the field of aircraft engineering, space exploration and energy."
  • Groysman said Chinese investment will be welcome next year in Ukraine’s expanding privatization program and in a new public private partnership program for infrastructure concessions.
  • China in five years can become the world's largest importer, predicts China International Capital Corporation, according to Xinhua. At present, China is the world’s largest exporter and ranks second in imports, after the United States. In recent years, China has become one of Ukraine’s top three trading partners. In the first nine months of this year, bilateral trade grew by 14.5%, to $5.6 billion.
  • Ukraine is undermining anti-corruption efforts, Washington warned in a statement Monday. Without citing the Poroshenko Administration by name, the State Department warned that bureaucratic attacks on new anti-corruption agencies “undermine public trust and risk eroding international support for Ukraine.” Concorde Capital’s Zenon Zawada writes: “Western diplomats and policy makers are concerned that Ukraine will slip back into the Russian sphere of influence if the Poroshenko Administration continues to block reforms and anti-corruption activity.”
  • Average monthly salaries in Ukraine should be raised by one third next year, to UAH 10,000, or $370, Prime Minister Groysman told ICTV Monday night. Last week, President Poroshenko said he planned raise the minimum wage to UAH 4,100 UAH, or about $150 a month. This would be a 28% raise since the last hike, Jan. 1, 2017.
  • Ukraine’s digital divide may go underground one year from now, when the Kyiv subway system is expected to be wired for 3G/4G mobile service. Ukraine’s big three mobile operators -- - Kyivstar, Vodafone Ukraine and lifecell – are preparing to bid for the service when the tender is announced, probably Q1 of 2018, Liga.net reports. At the start, about 16% of Ukrainians are expected to have phones equipped to use the internet at 4G speeds.
  • Ukraine’s Deposit Guarantee Fund continues to sell off assets remaining from the closing of half of the nation’s banks since 2014. Last week’s sale of assets from 46 former banks netted the equivalent of $5.6 million.
  • Slightly more than 1.8 million Ukrainians are registered and paying taxes as entrepreneurs, according to Andriy Reva, Social Policy Minister. Many tech workers register as entrepreneurs to be eligible for low tax rates.
  • Exports of rapeseed, the raw material for canola cooking oil, are to grow by 20% in the 2017-18 marketing year, according to UkrAgroConsult, the agriculture consultancy. This year, the area planted in rapeseed increased by 34%, the average yield rose by 3%, and the final crop came in at 2.2 million tons – 85% higher than last year.
  • The Rada has ratified the agreement for the promotion and protection of investments between Ukraine and the OPEC Fund for International Development.
  • Billa, the Austrian supermarket chain, plans to expand its store network by as much as 40% in 2018, by opening up to 10 stores largely in Kyiv and the growing suburban satellite communities. After opening in Ukraine in 2000, Billa now has 24 supermarkets in Kyiv, Zhytomyr, and two other cities.
  • New car sales up 26% through November, hitting 73,100 for the first 11 months of the year, Ukrautoprom, the auto industry association, reports. The top selling brands are: Toyota, Renault, Skoda and Volkswagen.
  • Ukraine has taken the first step toward unbundling its natural gas sector by creating a subsidiary to operate its pipelines, Naftogaz has announced. The subsidiary, known as the Operator of the Gas Transportation System of Ukraine, or OGTSU, is incorporated under state gas shipper Ukrtransgaz. Platts reports that this development underscores the government's efforts to unbundle Naftogaz by splitting it and creating independent gas producing, shipping, and trading entities.
  • Gas production is up 4% through November, reports Ukrtransgaz, the state gas transportation company. Last year, gas production in Ukraine was up by only 0.5%. Prime Minister Groysman repeated Tuesday his goal for national self-sufficiency in gas by 2020.
  • Despite Russia’s long term goal of routing gas around Ukraine to Europe, Russia’s shipment of gas through Ukraine was up 16% through November, hitting 85.5 billion cubic meters to date, Ukrtransgaz reports. Gazprom moves half of its Europe-bound gas through Ukraine, but its transit contract expires in 2019.
  • Once a novelty, now 41% of all Ukrainian Railways tickets are sold online, Yevgeny Kravtsov, acting chairman of the board of the state railroad, reports. In addition, sales of tickets on high speed intercity trains are up by 25% this year, on track to surpass 5 million.
  • Kharkiv airport increased passenger traffic by 36% through November, as Ukraine’s second largest city paced the capital in year over year air traffic growth. Once largely a feeder to air hubs in Kyiv and Moscow, Kharkiv now sees much of its passengers taking direct international flights south: Istanbul, Sharm El-Sheikh, Kyiv, Warsaw, Minsk, Tel Aviv, and Hurghada. Of the 745,400 passengers so far this year, 77% were international and 23% were domestic.

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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 james.brooke@theubj.com
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