21:11 PM Sunday, September 23, 2018 Wednesday, February 28
Kyiv residential construction up 30%; Germany-Ukraine trade up 22.4%; Toll road bill passes; Tymoshenko slams central bank nominee
image/svg+xml Kyiv Lutsk Rivne Zhytomyr Lviv Ternopil Khmelnytskyi Uzhgorod Chernivtsi Vinnytsia Chernigiv Sumy Kharkiv Poltava Cherkasy Kirovohrad Lugansk Dnipropetrovsk Donetsk Zaporizhzhia Mykolaiv Odesa Kherson Simferopol Sevastopol Ivano- Frankivsk

Kyiv’s housing boomed last year, with delivery of commissioned houses and apartments increasing by 30% over 2016, the State Statistics Service reports. Across the nation, housing construction was up 9%. Construction in Kyiv city and region accounted for 35% of the total, or 3.6 million square meters. Among the big growth regions were: Poltava -- up 72%; Ivano-Frankivsk – up 30%; Zakarpattia – up 25%; Odesa – up 25%; Ternopil – up 25%; Dnipropetrovsk -- up 24.4%; Rivne region – up 21.5%; and Lviv up 11.6%.

Germany-Ukraine trade increased by 22.4% last year, with Ukraine’s exports growing slightly faster than imports, reports the German-Ukrainian Industrial Chamber of Commerce, or AHK. The strongest driver for Ukrainian exports were: food – up 69%, followed by steel – up 57%, and chemical products -- up 39%. On the import side from Germany, the biggest growth was seen in cars – up 38.5% and mechanical engineering – up 30%. Andreas Lier, president of the Chamber, said: "The Ukrainian economy continues to diversify. It is a good thing that metallurgy in Ukraine is getting back on its feet.”

The average pension in Ukraine grew 35.7% in 2017. The Pension Fund disbursed $10.6 billion in benefits to retirees in 2017.

Turkish fashion retailer Koton enters Ukraine's market. A 1,557-square meter store opens in April on the first floor of Kyiv’s Lavina Mall, occupying a space that previously housed five stores.

Sugar prices will be soft this year on a worldwide oversupply of sugar of nine million tons, Igor Buchatskiy, CEO of ED&F Man Ukraine, tells AgriLand news site. Low prices could push the EU to cut sugar subsidies. ED&F modernized their Zasylsky Sugar Factory with with equipment imported from three sugar mills closed in Ireland. Around the plant, near Mykolaiv, ED&F farms 14,000 hectares of sugar beets, with 9,000 under irrigation.

OKKO-Agrotrade plans to triple pre-crop financing to farmers to $110 million this year, the OKKO group holding company reports. Founded in 2016, OKKO-Agrotrade provides farmers with fuel, mineral fertilizers, plant protection products, seeds and financing. Last year, OKKO exported 500,000 of farm products, About half of had been financed by OKKO.

Prime Minister Groysman asks regional media to help the government monitor road construction this year, warning that "local clans" are trying to earn "dishonest" money on paving contracts, UNIAN reports. He said the national government will monitor the estimated $370 million in road work to be done this year by local authorities under the newly decentralized system.

The Rada has approved a bill setting the legal framework for private companies to build toll highways. Concessions are only to be made for new roads, with preference to routes that bypass towns and shorten travel times. Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan, a backer, wrote on Facebook: “New, concession-based highways in Ukraine will be a reality! I emphasize once again: existing highways are not transferred to concessions. Only a new road, which runs parallel to an existing one, can be concessional, so that users have the right to choose: whether they drive on a toll road, or free of charge.”

With a Rada vote on a new central bank governor expected this week, Yulia Tymoshenko, leader of Fatherland party, lambasted the government’s nominee, Yakiv Smoliy as “accomplice in conducting this shameful monetary and credit policy, and should not be allowed to continue.” Tymoshenko, who leads in public opinion polls about the March 2019 presidential election, said Ukraine faces the start of hyperinflation, "a consequence of the absolutely criminal work" of the National Bank of Ukraine. Leaders of two other parties, the People’s Front and the Bloc Petro Poroshenko, came out this week in favor of Smoliy. The central bank head is proposed by the President and then appointed by the Rada for a seven year term.

Ukraine may qualify for another loan tranche of macro-financial assistance from the EU by this summer, Deputy Prime Minister Ivanna Klympush-Tsyntsadze tells Ukrinform meeting on Monday in Brussels with Valdis Dombrovskis, a European Commission vice president. The last EU program ended last month after Ukraine received EUR 1.2 billion of an agreed EUR 1.8 billion. Klympush-Tsyntsadze said Ukraine "has reached significant progress” in reviving the program. Concorde Capital’s Alexander Paraschiy writes: “Certainly no new MFA program is possible in case Ukraine won’t agree with the IMF on the next review of its Extended Funds Facility program. Namely, Ukraine's parliament has yet to approve a law on the High Anti-Corruption Court in line with Council of Europe recommendations, as the government has yet to agree on a natural gas pricing policy for households.”

Prime Minister Groysman wants to make the Dnipro a working river again telling regional journalists: "I am absolutely for increasing the movement of goods, passengers across the Dnieper, I will support this in every possible way.” The Rada is revising a 2017 bill that would create a river use tax, open inland waterways to foreign flag ships, and simplify control.

Odesa’s Varamar shipping company is negotiating its first deal in bitcoin, Alexander Varvarenko, company founder, tells Bloomberg. He says: “Paperwork for transactions is a complicated issue with banks, and bitcoin payments will help solve that by being faster…It could also help solve payment problems in countries like Pakistan, Russia, Sudan, Yemen, and Qatar, which have safe companies but are victims of sanctions being imposed against their governments.”

Russia and Ukraine were Israel’s top sources of immigrants last year, providing 7,224 and 7,182. Combined, the two countries provided 50.4% of Israel’s immigrants, according to the Ministry for Immigration Absorption. Tel Aviv is the busiest foreign destination for Ukraine International Airlines. Israel and Ukraine are expected to fine a free trade agreement later this year.

With the upsurge in air travel from Ukraine, AirAdvisor has expanded from Poland to Ukraine, opening an office in Kyiv on Monday. This online service collects compensation from airlines in case of delay or cancellation of a flight, denied boarding, or missing a transfer. Average payment is EUR400. AirAdvisor takes a 25% commission. Serhiy Aleksandrov, company head, said of his work in Ukraine: "AirAdvisor has been operating in a test mode for more than three months, during which we managed to collect thousands of euros from airlines around the world, including Lufthansa, Air France, LOT Polish Airlines, Ellinair, Ryanair, Air India and Windrose."
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