A deal with cash-strapped Ukraine was originally supposed to be the centerpiece of today’s “Eastern Partnership” EU summit in Lithuania. But last week Ukraine froze plans to sign the EU integration agreement in favour of overtures from Russia.
The trade deal with the EU was expected to stimulate much-needed investment flows to Ukraine and exports via the removal of trade tariffs. But as this was contingent on reforms, benefits were likely to be longer term. A deal with Russia on the other hand – potentially a lowering of the price at which the country imports gas – could give a short term fillip to the economy.
Here is why Ukraine’s economy desperately needs a boost.
First, and most crucially, is the question of Ukraine’s falling foreign exchange reserves.
As of October, foreign reserves stood at $20.6bn, down $6bn in the last year and only just covering three-months worth of imports – a level seen as the danger zone by many economists. And even under the most benign scenario projected UniCredit modeled this August see reserves falling further: Read more
Last year’s cold winter saw the number of excess winter deaths jump by nearly a third, according to official data.
The Office for National Statistics estimates that there were 31,000 excess winter deaths
in England and Wales in 2012/13, a rise of 29 per cent on the previous year.
By Andrew Jack and John Burn-Murdoch
The good news is that we are living longer. Among OECD nations, average life expectancy exceeded 80 years in 2011. There is a strong link to income but also to the structure of national health systems. The biggest outliers are Russia, Norway and the US, with below average life in relation to GDP per capita. Read more
By Andrew Jack
The global sales of prescription medicines is starting to accelerate and will reach $1 trillion next year, according to new estimates from IMS.
The data shows slowed growth since the 2008 financial crisis, when the loss of lucrative patents on drugs pushed down prices for drug companies just as the economic slowdown imposed austerity measures by governments and squeezed incomes by individuals paying out of pocket for healthcare. Read more