This is a curated list of the largest news from the economical sphere in Ukraine for the past week.
For a week it has been feeling like Ukraine has been holding it’s breath. Like the country itself has put itself in a temporary coma to avoid stirring up anything. At least that is the impression you’d get from reading the news, that has been dominated by mostly opinions and commentaries about the recent conflict escalation with Russia.
The largest topic has been the meeting between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. No one expected it to solve the crisis, though Biden came prepared with European and American sanctions lined up. The discussion now is what to do about Ukrainian NATO membership. Kyiv seems to lose more and more influence on that matter everyday.
New media landscape
In the world of media, two new English language media outlets were born in Ukraine this week. At least in a way. Yesterday, but mostly today, the old Kyiv Post was relaunched. The publication is controversial, because the owner Adnan Kivan shut down the operation and fired all journalists one month ago.
This was largely called an attack on the free press of Ukraine, however Kivan has defended his position saying that he had been misquoted by the media, and that firing Brian Bonner the former chief editor was necessary to kickstart the commercial expansion of the Kyiv Post, that Kivan had planned.
Naturally, the old Kyiv Post staff has not been agreeing with this explanation and has decided to open their own media outlet, the Kyiv Independent, which opened access to a temporary site this week, too. In a way, independent omnibus journalism in Ukraine looks much stronger now than two weeks ago, which is ironic.
Construction is booming
New buildings are popping up everywhere in Kyiv, which has been experiencing a construction boom over the last few years. Kyiv Post previously reported about how the city is experiencing a shortage of housing despite the massive construction because people are looking for newer and bigger apartments, resulting in an increase in prices.
The Ukrainian online marketplace lun.ua recently concluded that the average price per square meter for an apartment in Kyiv increased by 23 per cent last year. In 2020, the price was $922 per square meter, while it grew to $1,131 in 2021.
“There is a chronic shortage of apartments (in Kyiv)” said John Suggitt, founder, and managing director at the Kyiv Real Estate Recovery Fund, pointing out that the average available apartment space per resident is 20, while it is around 30 to 40 globally.
Medical tourism expected to bounce back
Before the pandemic, several foreigners traveled to Ukraine to get medical help. The low prices on everything from dental work to surgeries have made Ukraine a hot spot for people coming from Western countries. The industry has, however, been declining recently due to the pandemic, but is now recovering.
Chinese company sues Ukraine
The Chinese aerospace company Skyrizon has been trying to buy Motor Sich, a Ukrainian company making aircraft engines. They were getting close to the goal, but at the last minute, the Ukrainian government blocked the buyout. Ukraine’s Western partners, the US especially, was very concerned about the idea of letting China buy strategic infrastructure.
Nevertheless, the Chinese owners of Skyrizon disagrees strongly, and they have now sued the Ukrainian government for 4.5 billion USD as compensation for the failed attempt of buying the company, which has involved five years of work, according to Skyrizon.
COVID-19 looks better
It looks like Ukraine is getting better on the coronavirus front. Though some restrictions have been toughened, many cities and regions are leaving the red zone, meaning less strict rules for everyday life. The number of new daily cases seems to have found a relatively stable level around 12-13,000 cases a day.
World Bank Bankroll
The International Monetary Fund, IMF recently decided to continue payments of the $5 billion 18-month Stand-By Arrangement, which was signed in June 2020. As a result, Ukraine recently received $699 million and the move comes after several months where Ukraine has been put on ice after failing to meet the demands by the IMF. The World Bank is now considering two tranches of up to 500 million USD.