This is a curated list of the most important economic news stories from the past week.
This past week has been yet another quiet one. The realm of politics is more or less on holiday, but still international politics has been one of the things filling up newspapers for the past week. Specifically, the IMF which has been the main topic. Four days ago, Ukraine Nu wrote an article about time running out for Ukraine:
Titled “Time is running out: Ukraine might not get the second IMF tranche“, the article argued that time was running out for Ukraine, if they wanted to receive a second tranche of the IMF loan. The IMF payment looked unikely to experts at the time. Ukraine Nu then interviewed head of the Swedish investment bank SEB in Ukraine, Kristian Andersson.
While the interview revolved a lot around the rent and inflation, IMF and the tranche was also a topic of conversation. He echoed the concerns of the previous article, arguing that Ukraine is unlikely to receive any second tranche of the loan.
“The IMF is still worried about the independence of the NBU,” says Andersson, “The IMF is also still worried about the restoring and strengthening of the anti-corruption bodies, so there is a lot of work to do for the Ukrainian parliament. Work is underway, but I don’t think that Ukraine will get the second tranche.”
It is not sure whether or not he did it intentionally, but president Zelensky yesterday claimed that he will have a direct phone call with the managing director of IMF next week. Zelensky himself called this a “decisive stage” of the negotiations. Seemingly, he stands as the last hope for a new payment.
A little help
IMF are not the only ones helping out other countries, naturally. This week, Ukraine got some pretty big investment opportunities and direct foreign aid packages in sight. First and foremost, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is planning to open an office for promotion of investment and technology in Ukraine.
“The Ministry for Strategic Industries has been selected as the main central executive body responsible for fulfilling the obligations arising from Ukraine’s membership in the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. Work is under way to set up a UNIDO Office in Ukraine,” a report from the Ministry for Strategic Industries of Ukraine says.
Secondly, as a bandaid on the still bleeding Nordstream 2 wound, dubbed a betrayal of Ukraine by Ukrainian media and commentators, the US congress has approved supporting Ukraine with 750 million USD a year.
“I think that we [in the USA] have a very reliable foundation of support. Every year our Congress allocates funds to support Ukraine in various fields – up to USD 750 million a year. There are probably four, maximum five, other countries that receive such support from us every year. And it doesn’t depend on who is sitting in the White House. Both Democrats and Republicans support Ukraine. And I think that it does not depend on the administration or officials working with Ukraine,” says Charge d’Affaires of the United States in Ukraine George Kent.
Industrial parks on their way
Ukraine themselves are planning to build 25 industrial parks around the country. The government wants to build these parks around Ukraine to bring in investments both to the country and to the regions.
“Over the next three years, the Government plans to build infrastructure for a network of 25 state-funded industrial parks. This will ensure the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs in related sectors of the economy. I want to emphasize that industrial parks are also platforms for investment by Ukrainians from abroad,” said Chernyshov.
What is really worth looking into is the Chinese interests in these developments. Ukraine and China recently concluded several deals related to infrastructure, and China has announced that it is ready to invest more in Ukraine in the future. China has become Ukraine’s latest trading partner, but it is unclear whether China will play a role in developing the new industrial parks in Ukraine or whether they will host Chinese companies. Ambassador of China to Ukraine Fan Xianrong, however, recently said that big Chinese companies are ready to invest even more in Ukraine.
Ukraine toughens up entry rule
The more contagious Delta variant is starting to mark Europe and is making the Ukrainian health authorities worried. To minimize the spread of the Delta variant, the government in Ukraine has decided to update entry rules for foreigners and Ukrainians.
It is still unclear when the new rules come into force, but they are expected within a week. The new rules say that foreigners and Ukrainians, who aren’t vaccinated, will have to self-isolate for 14 days if they have been in either Russia or India in the last 14 days.
The rules also say that Ukrainians and foreigners without and with a Ukrainian residence permit will need to show either a negative PCR or antigen test – not older than 72 hours – or proof of complete vaccination. If you are not fully vaccinated, you can take a test within 72 hours in Ukraine, and if it is negative, you will not be required to self-isolate.
Foreigners are always required to have insurance covering COVID-19 treatment when entering Ukraine. You can buy insurance here.