In slapping fresh import duties on car imports, Kiev may achieve its short-term goal of partially reducing Ukraine’s trade deficit while simultaneously providing a boost to slumping domestic car output.
But the protectionist move — announced on Thursday by a cash-strapped government in talks with the IMF on a $15bn bailout — could carry costlier long-term consequences. It may infuriate fellow WTO member countries already shocked by Ukraine’s plans announced in September to renegotiate 371 tariffs just five years after becoming a member of the international trade organization. Continue reading »
Sometimes, you shouldn’t read too much into what a politician says on television with voters watching closely. A televised question-answer session with citizens held on Friday by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich is a case in point. Continue reading »
How hard is it for a multi-billionaire to donate half of his fortune to charity? Most of us will never know.
But if more rich people took this step, the world could become a “fairer” place, according to Victor Pinchuk (pictured). The billionaire businessman this week became the first Ukrainian to join the Giving Pledge launched by US billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett – and promise to give away at least half his money. Continue reading »
We can't vote like this
President Viktor Yanukovich’s majority in parliament on Friday voted in a loyalist to head the country’s central bank in what is expected to be a fiscally challenging year, but not without showing signs of weakness and sparking controversy. Continue reading »
So, after two days of brawling in parliament, Mykola Azarov has been re-instated as prime minister of Ukraine among vociferous and physical protests from a newly-emboldened opposition.
There were shouts of “Shame, shame” on the parliament floor as the brawling engulfed the podium. Shame it was indeed, but the shame will be bigger still if Ukraine fails to get a grip on pressing problems that include negotiating a loan package with what must be an increasingly wary International Monetary Fund. Continue reading »
It’s not common for news about a government’s resignation to be seen as positive, let alone an opportune moment for a country to tap the Eurobond market. But Ukraine is not your average country.
With a widening budget deficit and the economy sliding into recession, news that President Viktor Yanukovich had accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov’s government is welcome news for investment banks and investors. Continue reading »
Ignoring predictions of waning European gas demand, Russia’s Gazprom is pressing ahead with plans to build costly new pipelines to bypass Ukraine. Moscow wants to squeeze Kiev by funnelling EU-bound gas exports around what it sees as a troublesome neighbour.
But the policy is inadvertently driving Ukraine to do what it should have done long ago – reduce dependence on Russian-supplied gas by diversification and energy efficiency. Annual gas imports from Russia have already plunged from 50bn cubic metres a decade ago to under 30bcm this year – and are set to fall further. Continue reading »
Kiev: Communist rally
By Andrew Wilson of ECFR
The Ukrainian parliamentary elections are still not over – the Central Election Commission has sanctioned a rerun in five contested constituencies, and the number could well go up. But Ukraine’s friends, partners and neighbours already have to decide how to react. Continue reading »
There’s bad economic news on Wednesday from Ukraine, where political tensions are high with opposition politicians accusing President Viktor Yanukovich’s ruling Party of Regions of falsifying last Sunday’s parliamentary election.
Ukraine’s central bank reserves plunged 8.4 per cent in October to $26.8bn, as households rushed to dump a depreciating hryvnia amid concerns about the gloomy economic and political outlook. The drop since the beginning of the year is now a worrying 15.7 per cent. Continue reading »
Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich (pictured) and his ruling Party of Regions may be jubilant after Sunday’s election. Preliminary results show they are likely to retain control over parliament, preserving a three-year monopoly grip on domestic political power. But they should celebrate fast, because serious economic and foreign policy problems are piling up. Continue reading »
It’s too early to call the result of Ukraine’s parliamentary election on Sunday but if exit polls are any guide the country is set for a delicate balancing act between government and opposition in parliament and, on the world stage, between the west and Russia.
The country branded by Angela Merkel as a dictatorship may not, by a slim margin, merit quite such outright condemnation. But the forces competing for its future could tip it either way. Continue reading »
In the runup to Ukraine’s October 28 parliamentary election, polls show that the majority of Ukrainians want change, a break from the autocratic rule of President Viktor Yanukovich. They aren’t alone.
Ukraine is heading into its second recession in four years. Businesses and investors on the ground see the investment climate getting much worse for everyone – except Yanukovich’s billionaire oligarch backers. Continue reading »
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s administration may be increasingly isolated from the west due to alleged persecutions of political rivals. And the nation may still be cut off from International Monetary Fund loans amid lacklustre reforms. But it appears to be making friends with China.
A flurry of multi-billion-dollar bilateral deals revealed in recent weeks – some signed, others in the works – mark a strong surge in bilateral activity between Kiev and Beijing. Ukrainian officials have described it the beginning of a new strategic partnership. Continue reading »
Ukraine, a vast emerging market economy on the European Union’s eastern border, has been hit in recent days with a double whammy.
The nation’s small and relatively illiquid stock market plunged by more than 8 per cent on Monday, bringing the decline in the past week to a whopping 16 per cent. The trend, largely driven by global market factors such as S&P’s US downgrade and European debt fears, has been sharp and downwards in recent months.
Ukraine is also being shaken up politically. Continue reading »