- An informal poll of 400 attendees of an American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine meeting Thursday night found that 83% said they plan to expand their company operations in Ukraine this year. Voting electronically and anonymously, 15% said their operations would remain the same, and 2.5% predicted cuts. Asked about last year, 64% of respondents said their company grew, 28% said it stayed the same, and 9% said operations declined.
- At the meeting, Prime Minister Groysman urged attendees to look for opportunities among the hundreds of state companies to be privatized this year. He said the government has 35 pro-business “laws in the pipeline,” including laws to protect intellectual property and to allow concessions in public service areas. He said: “I believe economic growth of 5 -- or even 7 percent -- is absolutely possible.”
- Speaking at the AmCham, US Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, argued that cutting corruption would boost economic growth. She said: “Business investment and growth in Ukraine is not where it needs to be. It is stunted by an unreliable judicial system…accelerating the fight against corruption would be the most transformative path. It could add 2% to GDP.”
- To get back on track with the IMF, Ukraine must adopt market prices for gas and must create an independent Anti-Corruption Court, Goesta Ljungman, the IMF’s Resident Representative in Ukraine, told the European Business Association on Thursday. He predicted that Ukraine's economy may grow by 3% to 3.5%, this year, well within the consensus range.
- A British company, Stopford Projects Limited, is to build an $85 million waste recycling plant for Dnipro, Ukraine’s third largest city with almost 1 million inhabitants. The project is self-financed and will be the property of Stopford for 15 years after completion.
- The Czech government agreed to admit 19,600 Ukrainians as fast-track migrant workers this year, five times the quota of 2016. With the EU’s lowest unemployment rate – 2.3% -- companies see labor shortage as their biggest business obstacle, Reuters reports from Prague. The Czech Republic already has 117,000 legally residing Ukrainians, the largest foreign community. The EU is suing Czech for refusing to accept Muslim asylum-seekers. Prague will also fast track admissions of workers from Mongolia, a Buddhist country, and the Philippines, a largely Catholic country.
- Boosted by wheat crops in Canada and Russia, world grain production will set a new record, predicts the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. In this agricultural year, July 2017-June 2018, world production will be 2.64 billion tons, 1.3% more than in 2016. At the same time, grain consumption is to grow by 1.4%. Softening prices, the ratio of stocks to consumption will be 28%, the highest level in 16 years.
- New car sales were up 41% in January, compared to the same month one year ago, to 6,620 according to AUTO-Consulting. Analysts say jitters over the exchange rate prompted some buyers to speed up purchases. In 2017, sales of new cars were up 24.5% compared to 2016. Analysts predict a repeat of this growth this year.
- Ukraine crude oil output continued its decline, dropping by 4.2% in 2017 to 2.1 million tons, Energy and Coal Industry Ministry reports. In 2016, oil production also dropped, falling by 7.5%.
- Russia will need Ukraine’s gas pipelines to send gas to Europe for years to come, according to a report “Ukraine Needed after Nord Stream 2” in Platts, the energy news service. Russia wants to stop sending gas through Ukraine after its contract expires at the end of next year. But London-based Platts cites reasons for keeping the Ukraine transit route: high volumes passing through Ukraine in 2017, US sanctions risk against Nord Stream 2 investors, planning issues that could force route changes, and uncertainties about EU regulations.
- Internet advertising rebounded by 40%, to $93 million last year, reports the All-Ukrainian Advertising Coalition. While still below the 2013 peak, advertising increased across the board last year: TV up 29%; radio up 20%; and newspapers up 18%. On the Internet, half the spend was for banner adverting.
- By June, Ukraine is to have an Export Credit Agency, according to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade. The agency will provide finance and insurance cover to Ukrainian exports.
- Ukraine has opened a facility in Bangladesh to maintain, repair and overhaul Russian-made Mi-17 military helicopters for the Bangladesh Air Force. Although the helicopters are made in Kazan, Ukraine has maintained them for four decades. Bangladesh has 31 Mi-17s and five more on order from Russia. According to UkrOboronProm, the repair facility has been created by two Ukrainian firms, Aviakon and Ukrinmash.
- Container trains will expand across Ukraine this year, alleviating truck traffic on highways, Yevgen Kravtsov, acting CEO of the Ukrainian Railways, predicts to the UBJ. On Wednesday, Kravtsov inaugurated a new weekly container train between Odesa and Kyiv. Later this year, he said, container trains will start from Odesa to Dnipro and from Kharkiv to Kyiv. One 56-container train replaces 56 tractor trailer trucks.
- Antonov would like to convert its Gostomel airport into a major cargo hub and aircraft service center, Oleksandr Krivokon, Antonov’s president, told Liga.net. At present, Gostomel serves both functions, but in lesser capacities. The airport’s major attraction is its 3.5 km concrete airstrip and its location -- 36 km northwest of central Kyiv. With about 10% of Ukraine’s population, Kyiv is the destination for 40% of international cargo. Prime Minister Groysman proposes turning the airport, a 45-minute drive from central Kyiv, into a center for discount and charter flights.
- Fresh from Doha, Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan predicts to the UBJ that Qatar Airways will start flying this year to Lviv. He notes that the airline doubled its flights to Kyiv within weeks of launching service last August. Last year, Lviv’s airport passenger flow topped 1 million for the first time in memory. The airport’s 3.3 km concrete runway can handle the kind of long range Airbus or Boeing needed for the 5 hour Lviv-Doha flight.
- Last weekend, the tourist potential of Ukraine was presented at “The New York Times Travel Show” in New York City. Representative from Kyiv City and the Lviv Tourist Office made the presentation at the show which was held at Manhattan’s Jacob Javits Center, and attended by 4,500 travel agents.
- Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko says Starbucks will come to his city. To date, the barrier has been price. In New York, the cheapest and simplest Starbucks coffee costs $2.42. In Kyiv, it’s equivalent, an ‘Americano,’ can be had for 42 cents. Nevertheless, Kyiv’s mayor tells NewsOne TV channel: "Starbucks will definitely come to Ukraine, to Kyiv. I have no doubt about this. It’s only a matter of time.”
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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