This is a curated list of the biggest economic news in Ukraine for the past week.
Yet another week has been dominated by the political crisis in Belarus, Ukraine’s unpopular neighbour. In the recent week, the already strained relationship between the two post-Soviet states have deteriorated even more. The relationship with Russia, the other unpopular neighbour of Ukraine, is also hanging in the balance with some big upcoming meetings.
But before we go to the international and often bad news, we start with an interview with the Managing Director of Banke APS Rasmus Banke, who told Ukraine Nu that he never doubted the potential in Ukraine.
“I think that it is crazy that there isn’t more cooperation with Ukraine when you think of the huge potential when it comes to manufacturing vehicles and other things,” says Banke, “I believe that everything you could produce in China also can be produced here. There are some cultural differences between here and Denmark, but it can be solved.”
The whole interview with Rasmus Banke how is now running a ten man engineering operation in Ukraine can be read here:
Other positive news this week include Prime Minister Shmyhal’s predictions. According to him, the economy is back on track after a year of pandemic. Of course it still remains to be seen whether or not he is right.
“In 2021, we must lay a solid foundation so that the Ukrainian economy grows at a faster pace in the years to follow. At the same time, already in the first four months of this year, we are recording positive trends, which show that the Ukrainian economy has begun to recover from coronacrisis,” Shmyhal wrote on Facebook.
Still in the political sphere, the new Ukrainian Minister of Health, Viktor Lyashko, has told everyone that this summer might bring more than just better weather: The quarantine restrictions might be loosened up even more than now, the minister says, owing it to general quarantine fatigue in the population.
Back and forth on the environment
On one side, the parliament this week took a very green leaning decision and banned the distribution of thin plastic bags in shops. The fines for breaking the law range from USD 310 to USD 620 while repeated offences could lead to fines up to USD 1240. In addition, handing out plastic bags for free will be prohibited. Stores are required to sell them at a price fixed by the cabinet of ministers.
On the other hand, the government also said that it would avoid the EU carbon tax. The proposed tax made the government fear that it would mean a block of 20 percent of products in some sectors. Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Olha Stefanishyna, however, now says that it will not be the case.
“According to the estimates by our think tanks, the introduction of such a measure would actually block 20% of all exports of Ukrainian products of certain sectors to the European Union market,” Stefanishyna said, according to Ukrinform.
“In fact, as a result of the negotiations (with the EU), we agreed that such a decision would not provide for trade restrictions, would not violate the Association Agreement, and would not produce an immediate impact on the export of Ukrainian products,” the Deputy Prime Minister said, referring to Ukraine’s free trade with the EU.
Goodbye, unprofitable coal mines
In the energy sector, the biggest Ukrainian energy company DTEK is trying to shift towards green energy. Maxim Timchenko, CEO of DTEK, says that DTEK is now also considering “the sale of (its) power stations and coal mines,” to shift towards producing more green energy.
“If there is demand for 10 percent of our portfolio of power plants and mines, we will sell 10 percent. If there is demand for 100 percent, then we will sell 100 percent,” he said, but pointed out that DTEK is more likely to sell individual power plants and coal mines than entire companies and that DTEK still needs clearance from its creditors.
Prices are reaching for the sky
Everywhere you go in Kyiv, you see cranes reaching to the sky. Construction is booming in the Ukrainian capital, and according to Serhiy Pylypenko, the general director of Kovalska construction, the price for one square meter might be as high as 2,000 USD by the end of 2023.
And now for Belarus
And now for something less cheerful. The ongoing political crisis in Belarus have been damaging the relationship between Belarus and Ukraine for a while now. First and foremost, Ukraine banned Belarusian aircraft following the diversion of the RyanAir flight. The Belarusians responded to this by slamming extra taxes on Ukrainian goods.