Newsletter Issue 157 | November 2021

The Ukrainian banking sector in times of COVID-19

Ukraine’s banking sector reforms, which started in 2015, clearly paid off during COVID-19. The increased resilience ensured that the economic crisis related to the pandemic has not spilled over to the financial sector. As a result, banking penetration increased in Ukraine, but remains far below that of peers. Assets are mainly concentrated in state-owned banks which account for four of the Top-5 banks. Currently, they hold less than half of net assets compared to 55% in 2019 indicating a much-welcome decline in the state share within the sector.


Newsletter Issue 156 | October 2021

Digital transformation of the economy: A mixed picture

The Ukrainian economy is entering the digital age in dual speed: While the country is home to a booming IT sector, digital transformation of the general business sector is lagging behind. Growth in the IT sector has been outpacing other sectors in the past year. The sector’s share in national employment has grown from around 2%% in 2015 to just under 3% in 2019. With a strong emphasis on programming activities, the sector now contributes 5% to Ukraine’s total exports. At the same time, companies in the sector are increasingly moving from providing outsourcing services to developing and offering their own products.


Newsletter Issue 155 | September 2021

Reforms in Ukraine: Judiciary reforms are necessary

VoxUkraine has been evaluating the expected impact of economic reforms since early 2015. During that period, about 40 experts evaulated over 1150 legislative acts (a third of which were approved since 2019) that change “the rules of the game”. In this newsletter we provide an overview of recent reforms since 2019. During this time, our index has never reached the peaks of 2.5 – 2.6 points (out of 5 possible) we’ve seen at the beginning of 2015. Despite this slowdown, a few recent reforms are worth highlighting. While the opening of the land market after 18 years of moratorium is an important success, there are obstacles in the implementation of judicial reform. Despite initial promises, the adoption of laws that ‘reload’ the judiciary was not easy, and their implementation will be even harder. However, this battle cannot be lost. Because in its current state, the judicial system is not only a major impediment to future economic growth, it is also the greatest risk to already adopted reforms.

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Newsletter Issue 154 | August 2021

Tracking economic activity during the pandemic  

The COVID-19 pandemic suddenly created new economic conditions across the globe. The speed of those changes created an urgent need for real-time observation of the population’s behaviour and economic reaction to the pandemic and for assessing preventive policies aimed at its combating (i.e. lockdowns). Textbook economic indicators are usually released with lags and thus do not timely provide an understanding of real-time economic activity. Therefore, the Centre for Economic Strategy (CES) recently established an activity tracker for Ukraine based on non-textbook, real-time and high-frequent economic indicators to provide insights into the development of real-time economic activity in the country. Such trackers are new tools that can be used by policymakers for predictions and policy decisions, by businesses for planning their economic activity, and by consumers for a better understanding of the economic state in the country.


Newsletter Issue 153 | July 2021

Reforming CO2 taxation: Current proposals and outlook

The current Ukrainian CO2 tax is too low to have any effect on reducing emissions. Discussions on increasing the CO2 tax are ongoing among policymakers. However, the focus in these discussions so far is less on reaching effective levels for driving decarbonisation, but more on revenue generation and its fiscal use. On the backdrop of international discussions and commitments, several government institutions are preparing proposals for introducing a national climate fund which could channel CO2 tax revenues into a green modernisation of industry. Another proposal currently discussed concerns financing renewable electricity feed-in tariffs through CO2 tax revenues instead of a consumer levy. Overall, the course and ambition of Ukrainian climate policy remains unclear, creating uncertainty for investors, businesses, and policymakers alike.

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Newsletter Issue 152 | June 2021

Quick economic recovery, but with some risks

After Ukraine’s economy declined by 4.0% in 2020 due to the pandemic, we expect a GDP recovery by 4.3% in 2021, mainly driven by domestic demand. The pre-crisis GDP level will already be reached within this year. However, once the rebound is over, Ukraine will be back on the path of moderate pre-crisis growth rates of around 3.5% if no essential structural reforms are conducted. Past reforms like the introduction of inflation targeting (IT) and the flexible exchange rate regime served Ukraine well, as they ensured a stable exchange rate as well as growing foreign reserves. Inflation is currently the main risk factor, after rising to 9.5% in May 2021, substantially above the target range (4% to 6%). While the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) raised the key policy rate, further hikes to bring inflation under control may be necessary. In this regard, an independent NBU is essential.

A renewed reform drive would open the door for a further tranche under the current IMF programme, which has not seen any disbursements for the last 12 months. It would ensure both deficit financing and debt repayments as well as unlock further disbursements by the EU and the World Bank.


Economic Monitor Issue 14 | June 2021


  • Quick recovery: GDP growth of 4.3% in 2021 mainly driven by domestic demand.
  • Moderate pre-crisis growth rates around 3.5% expected for next years. Increasing reform ambition is necessary.
  • Inflation currently at 9.5%, way above target range (4-6%). NBU has started hiking policy rate to reduce inflation.
  • Expansionary fiscal policy continued during recovery. Consolidation and IMF-programme remain important.
  • Recovery of external trade driven by favourable terms of trade. ICT now leading service exports.
  • Current account surplus remains in 2021. Stable exchange rate and reserves.

Newsletter Issue 151 | May 2021

The road to ACAA: What is in it for Ukraine?

Concluding an Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of industrial products (ACAA) with the EU – also called the “industrial visa-free” regime – is high on the agenda of the Ukrainian government. This addition to the DCFTA with the EU would ensure recognition of Ukrainian conformity assessments for industrial products in the EU and vice versa, hence further lowering non-tarriff barriers to trade. It is also an ambitious undertaking, requiring legal and institutional alignment to EU standards. The EU has so far only concluded one ACAA, much more limited in scope, with Israel.

Initially, ACAA will cover only three out of 27 product categories. Once implemented, ACAA in its current guise would directly cover around 20% of Ukraine’s imports from the EU and 5% of exports to the EU. ACAA would have a positive, but small direct effect on trade with the EU. Indirect effects are less easily quantifiable, but appear to be more important. Due to reduced trade costs, regulatory risks and bureaucratic burdens, trade could expand to encompass companies and products presently not involved in Ukraine-EU trade. Recognition by the EU can be used as a signal to expand trade with third countries. Cheaper imports of EU capital goods will contribute to the modernisation of the economy. Politically, ACAA would be a powerful symbol for Ukraine’s image as a EU partner and of its commitment to further implementing EU standards.


Newsletter Issue 150 | April 2021

The Ukrainian labour market during the COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic hit companies in Ukraine hard. Immediate steps taken by the government since spring 2020, such as providing regulation for work from home, relief payments to companies and adapting an existing short-term work scheme, helped companies to adapt to the unforeseen circumstances. Yet, quickly adapting their workforce to reduce labour costs still remained essential for many companies to survive. However, their ability to do so was constrained by labour law, which needs to strike a balance between the interests of workers and companies.

Companies used several ways of adapting their labour force to the new circumstances and to cut labour costs. Unpaid leave or working time reductions required the consent of workers and were used in relatively small magnitudes. The adapted short-time work only covered relatively few companies. In consequence, the main form of labour market adaption was still to dismiss employees, even though this cannot be done quickly nor cheaply and many companies would have rather retained contractual links with their workers during the temporary crisis. To improve the ability of the labour market to reflect both the needs of companies and workers in crisis, extending the existing short-term work scheme in the spirit of short-time work schemes employed by EU countries should be considered.


Newsletter Issue 149 | March 2021

Export finance in Ukraine: reforms are needed

State export support is a key instrument for strengthening a country’s exports and improving exporters’ competiteveness in global markets and value chains. Export promotion can be split into three categories: information provision, export finance as well as protection against political and commercial risks. Ideally, these three elements are part of one unique state export finance strategy. Such a strategy ranges from supporting trade fair participation and provision of country risk assessments to information on market structures and conditions for market access. In addition, short-, medium, and long-term export financing, backed by state or private credit insurance, is of importance.


Newsletter Issue 148 | February 2021

Coal transition: Status quo and outlook

Ending the mining and use of coal is a challenge that Ukraine, too, will have to face in the coming years. Compelling ecological and economic reasons exist. Using coal for power generation and steel production leads to high CO2 emissions. At the same time, mining domestic coal in Ukraine is uneconomic due to unfavourable geology. Especially state-run mines operate at high losses and, despite large subsidies, only produce marginal amounts of coal. Germany and other international partners agreed to support Ukraine in its coal transition, the process of ending the mining and use of coal and reorientation of regional economies. First pilot projects have already been identified.


Newsletter Issue 147 | December 2021

Economic recovery firmly in sight

Ukraine’s real GDP declined by an estimated 4.6% in 2020 due to the economic impact of the pandemic. In international comparison, this decline is rather moderate. In 2021, the economy will expand by 4.3%, reaching pre-crisis real GDP levels only in 2022. Despite the crisis, the external position remained stable, benefiting from a positive terms of trade shock. The flexible exchange rate worked well as a shock absorber and supported the accumulation of international reserves, which reached USD 29.1 bn in December 2020, an eight-year high. Inflation reached 5.0% at the end of 2020, right at the target. In 2020, the budget deficit increased considerably and will decrease only slightly in 2021. Overall, these indicators show a stable macroeconomic environment despite the crisis. Due to the economic reforms of recent years, Ukraine faced this crisis much better prepared than past ones. For deficit and refinancing purposes, and as a policy anchor to accelerate further economic reforms, a continuation of the IMF-programme is of key importance.


Economic Monitor Issue 13 | January 2021


  • Due to COVID-19, GDP declined by 4.6% in 2020: a moderate decline in international comparison. In 2021, growth of 4.3% is expected
  • Stability of the external sector during the crisis: current account surplus (2020: 4.7% of GDP), moderate exchange rate dynamics, international reserves reached their highest level since 2012 (USD 29 bn)
  • Inflation is currently at the 5% target of the central bank, policy rates were decreased to a historic low of 6% to support economic recovery
  • During the crisis, the budget deficit considerably increased (2020 estimate: 5.6% of GDP), and will decrease only slightly in 2021, public debt meanwhile increased to 65.7% of GDP
  • International trade declined by 9.1% after 11M2020: stronger decrease of imports (-12,9%) than exports (-3,5%)

Newsletter Issue 146 | December 2020

Ukraine’s electricity market: a year after the reform

On July 1, 2019, Ukraine opened its electricity market, shifting from a regulated single-buyer model to a competitive liberalised model in line with the EU’s 3rd energy package directives. The reform was implemented in a tight timeframe of only two and a half years – very quickly by European standards. Due to the haste, Ukraine launched its market in a half-baked state, without a comprehensive testing period and without having addressed important pre-requisites for a successful open market. After a year in operation, the market infrastructure is running with no major disruptions. However, regulatory gaps and a lack of competition have resulted in relatively high spot prices. Many structural problems remain unaddressed, impeding the further success of the reform.


Newsletter Issue 145 | November 2020

Decentralisation reform in Ukraine

With the elections of the mayors and local councils at the levels of hromadas (municipalities), rayons (districts) and oblasts (regions) on 25 October 2020, Ukraine is completing a comprehensive territorial reform at the local level and is creating new large rayons instead of the old smaller rayons and cities of oblast significance (comparable to independent cities in Germany). However, the boundaries of the 24 oblasts, as well as the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the cities with special status, Kyiv and Sevastopol, will remain unchanged. The aim of the reform is to create sufficiently large municipalities which are able to carry out their own and delegated tasks independently. The reform is a necessary, but not yet sufficient, condition for the establishment of genuine self-government based on the European model. Pending constitutional amendments and other laws have yet to define the principle and scope of local self-government, but also guarantee and protect it against interference and regulate the relationship between the various levels.


Newsletter Issue 144 | October 2020

Amendments to the Tax Code in 2020: The “BEPS law”

The “BEPS law” containing changes to the Tax Code of Ukraine came into force in May of this year. This law implements anti-tax-avoidance and tax transparency measures recommended by the OECD’s BEPS project to combat tax base erosion and profit shifting. Important changes combat tax-avoidance schemes that exploit loopholes in double-taxation agreements with complex international constructions and unregistered permanent establishments. The law also contains general changes to improve the tax system.

The changes constitute an important step ahead towards strengthening Ukraine’s tax receipts and improving the business environment. Whilst companies will benefit from many fixes to existing problems in the tax system, the use of complex international tax avoidance schemes will be significantly discouraged. The law also represents a much-needed shift in the philosophy of tax administration from “form over substance” to “substance over form”. For this shift to translate from legislation to actual practice, however, implementation will play a key role and solid training of tax authorities’ staff will be required.


Newsletter Issue 143 | September 2020

German FDI in Ukraine: A valuation issue

According to the Ukrainian National Statistics Office, German foreign direct investment (FDI) in Ukraine has considerably dropped since 2011. This is a remarkable development, as economic ties between the two countries have generally increased, particularly due to Ukraine’s EU association.

Indeed, the negative development in the data is caused by a few specific reasons. The data are strongly driven by one large individual investment by the German subsidiary of a global steel corporation with Indian majority shareholders. This shows that bilateral FDI statistics should be interpreted cautiously. In addition, the valuation method employed for this investment plays a key role. In sum, one should not come to rash conclusions on the relations between the Ukrainian and German economies based solely on Ukrainian FDI data.


Newsletter Issue 142 | August 2020

Key trends in Ukraine’s banking sector

Ukraine’s banking sector has undergone a process of deep and comprehensive reforms over the last few years. As a result, the number of banks dropped significantly to 74 currently, down from 180 in 2013. Bank assets have somewhat increased, but slower than Ukraine’s nominal GDP. Therefore, the banking sector (21% of GDP) declined and remains small in regional comparison. The banking clean-up involved the nationalisation of Privatbank, the market leader with a 28% asset share, and led to the dominance of state-owned banks, representing 59% of the market. The reforms also contributed to improving the capital adequacy ratio, thereby strengthening resilience and supported profitability of the sector. As a result, Ukraine’s banks are facing the negative economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic much better prepared than in the past.

Still, the amount of non-performing loans remains a risk. Though the share has gradually declined since 2017, it remains on a very high level compared to peers. Ensuring a significant reduction of the NPL stock and maintaining the independence of the National Bank are two key priorities within the current IMF Stand-By-Arrangement.


Newsletter Issue 141 | July 2020

The German EU Presidency and Implications for Ukraine

Ukraine’s special relations with Germany, both as an economic partner and also as a key actor in the talks on the Donbas conflict within the Normandy Format have set its expectations high from Germany’s EU Presidency. But do they match Germany’s priorities for the next six months? In few instances they do, but not in many. An overly ambitious German agenda means less focus on Ukraine’s key challenges – fighting the war in Donbas and recovering its economy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Newsletter Issue 140 | June 2020

Land market: how much light do we see at the end?

In March 2020, the Ukrainian Parliament made a revolutionary step and brought to the end the 20-year long moratorium on agricultural land sales. The Law on Amendments to Legislative Acts on Turnover of Agricultural Land (552-IX) was finally adopted. Ukraine effectively completes the land reform, which transformed the Soviet-era state land into truly private property with all corresponding rights. Despite the importance of this step, we keep hearing voices from both sides of the land reform camp that the adopted law will make no good to Ukraine. To assess if such statements have any justice, we highlight the key features of the law, the benefits and losses to the key stakeholders and steps that remain to be taken to realize the full potential of the agricultural land as a driver of sustainable growth in Ukraine.


Economic Monitor Issue 12 | June 2020


  • GDP: Due to COVID-19, the Ukrainian economy is forecast to decline by 7.0% in 2020, followed by a small growth of 1.1% in 2021
  • The significant decline of GDP is a combination of domestic lockdown measures as well as a deterioration in the global environment
  • Due to significant progress with macroeconomic stability during recent years, Ukraine faces this global crisis much better prepared than in the past
  • A flexible exchange rate acts as a shock absorber and protects international reserves (Jun-20: USD 25.4 bn)v
  • The current account will almost be balanced in 2020 (-0.3% of GDP), as imports shrink faster than exports
  • But: lower FDI and reversal of private capital inflows create problems for financing the current account deficit
  • Low inflation (May-20: 1.7%) allowed the NBU to decrease the policy rate, supporting the economy
  • Public finances: after years of moderate deficits, the budget deficit is set to rise to 7.5% of GDP in 2020 as a result of the crisis

Newsletter Issue 139 | May 2020

Covid-19 leads to sharp contraction of Ukraine’s economy

The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a firm grip on the world economy. Ukraine will unfortunately not escape this global trend. A scenario-based analysis by the German Economic Team shows both the direct shocks and the total economic effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on Ukraine. Direct shocks include the temporary closure of domestic sectors, shocks to goods and services exports of Ukraine and a drop of remittances income.


Newsletter Issue 138 | April 2020

Why an IMF programme is urgently needed

In December 2019, Ukraine reached a staff level agreement with the IMF on a 3-year extended fund facility (EFF). The agreement was supposed to unlock a USD 5.5 bn programme, conditioned on the fulfilment of a set of prior actions. Notwithstanding last year’s rather favourable macroeconomic dynamics, the IMF programme was considered as an important tool for anchoring structural reforms and facilitating further support by the EU and the World Bank.


Newsletter Issue 137 | March 2020

Ukraine’s foreign trade in 2019

Ukraine’s foreign trade continued to grow in 2019, exports and imports of goods expanded both by 6%. The trade deficit amounted to USD 11 bn. This corresponds to 7.1% of GDP, which is lower than in the previous year. Economic growth and hryvnia appreciation were the main reasons for this reduction.


Newsletter Issue 136 | February 2020

Ukraine’s economy in good shape

Ukraine emerges from 2019 in a stable economic shape. GDP growth was at 3.5%, driven by strong domestic demand, despite two elections being held in 2019. Due to strong inflow of foreign capital to the domestic bond market, the Hryvnia appreciated by 16% against the US dollar. Inflation was at 4.1% and thus for the first time within the National Bank’s target range, allowing a gradual reduction of the policy rate. Both the current account and budget deficits are under control at ca. 3% and 2% of GDP, respectively.


Economic Monitor Issue 11 | January 2020


  • Labour migration. Increasing migration supports growth in real wages.
  • Reform agenda of the government. Ambitious economic policy goals require comprehensive reforms
  • IMF programme. New agreement is a positive signal and supports the reform agenda
  • Reform proposals of German business in Ukraine. Update of our study shows progress in improving the investment climate
  • Gas transit deal. Agreement between Naftogaz and Gazprom on gas transit is a positive development

Newsletter Edition 135 | January 2020

The new Russia-Ukraine gas agreements

Gas negotiations between Russia and Ukraine were ultimately successful: a package of agreements has been reached which allow Russian gas to be transported through Ukraine for five years at a roughly 50% level compared to average volumes of the past five years. Enabling factors included the successful unbundling process of Naftogaz in a race against time, Ukraine’s focus on achieving short-term gains, Russia’s willingness to bend to the Stockholm arbitration awards payment. With sanctions from the United States on Nord Stream 2, Russia was plunged into uncertainty over the opening of this alternative route and compelled to secure a longer and larger deal with Ukraine than it initially considered. Next issues to watch for are two remaining legal disputes, Gazprom’s possible direct gas supplies to Ukraine, and the fate of the Yamal-Europe transit pipeline.


Newsletter Edition 134 | December 2019

Labour migration from Ukraine: A mixed blessing

Significant changes in patterns of labour migration from Ukraine have occurred since 2014. There has been a direction change of migrant streams from East to West and an overall increase of labour migration. The total number of labour migrants from Ukraine in the beginning of 2017 was at least 2 million. Out of these, at least 500,000 were in Poland and a further increase of this migrant stock by 200,000 migrants per year in 2017 and 2018 appears credible. Remittances of labour migrants amounted to ca. USD 11 bn in 2018, around 8% of GDP.


Newsletter Edition 133 | November 2019

The new government plan: It’s not the destination, it’s the journey

Ukraine’s new government has recently unveiled its 5-year Action Programme, which sets its priorities in the economic and social sphere. While some targets like obtaining USD 50 bn of FDI inflows or reaching a foreign credit of “A-“ look (over-)ambitious, other targets like the reduction of the public debt to GDP or the diversification of borrowing into local currency look quite realistic. It is also very positive that budget planning is done with a conservative approach. Regardless of the ultimate achievement of all indicators, the focus should be on the implementation of key reforms underlying this programme.


Newsletter Edition 132 | October 2019

New trade barriers in the steel market: Limited impact on Ukraine

Following the introduction of an additional 25% customs duty on selected steel imports by the USA in 2018, the EU and other markets responded by imposing their own safeguard measures. Especially the measures of the USA and EU matter for Ukraine: While the EU is Ukraine’s primary destination market for steel products with a share of 38% of steel exports, the USA are the third most important market, with a share of 8%. Steel remains a key export good of Ukraine, accounting for 23% of total goods exports in 2018.


Newsletter Edition 131 | September 2019

Banking sector recovery continues, but risks remain

Banks operating in Ukraine have considerably improved their performance during the last few years. While the sector as a whole recorded a record loss of UAH 160.5 bn in 2016 (after the nationalisation of PrivatBank, the biggest bank in the country), the corresponding figure for the first eight months in 2019 is a profit of UAH 44 bn, also in part due to a turn-around in PrivatBank.


Policy Paper 03/2019

Modern Monetary Theory: Background and implications for emerging markets

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) is an increasingly debated economic concept. While mainly brought into the current public discussion by politicians in the US, the concept does have some hetherodox theoretical foundations, which date back to the beginning of the 20th century.

The theory claims that budget deficits can be financed by the central bank creating thereby fiscal space, whereby the monetisation of debt is not an issue of concern, as long it does not lead to high inflation. In the current discussion, the proponents foresee the potential for a massive increase in public investments (be it for a “New Green Deal” or a “Job Guarantee Programme”), essentially without creating any harm, as inflation and interest rates are considered to be at very low levels for a very long time in developed markets.


Policy Paper 02/2019

Reforming the law “On Prices” in Ukraine: Analysis and recommendations

Price controls describe all regulations directly regulating the price setting by the suppliers of goods and services on markets. They usually take the form of either direct setting of prices (or maximum/minimum thresholds) by government or of limits on the profitability margin or cost markups of goods. They form a part of a wider toolkit for governments to affect market outcomes, including competition policy, producer or product standards, direct market interventions by the state, taxes, subsidies and social transfers.


Newsletter Issue No. 129 | July 2019

Electricity market opening – still work to do

Ukraine’s electricity wholesale market has been opened for competition on 1st of July. In theory, large retail suppliers and industrial consumers can now buy electricity freely from different generators on the open market. Hopes are that this will lead to a more efficient electricity sector. However, despite two years of preparation, there are concerns that the sector is
not yet ready for the opening.


Newsletter Issue No. 128 | June 2019

Positive effect of the DCFTA on Ukraine’s exports to the EU

Ukraine and the EU concluded a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement (DCFTA) in 2014. In a recent comparative study, which also includes Georgia and Moldova, we look at the effect of the DCFTA on
Ukrainian exports to the EU.


Newsletter Issue No. 127 | May 2019

Reforming the support scheme for renewables in Ukraine

The expansion of renewable energy in Ukraine has recently gained momentum. This development has been fostered by a generous feed-in tariff for producers of “green” electricity which is guaranteed by the state. However, this feed-in tariff has caused high costs and therefore made a reform of the support scheme inevitable. With the introduction of an
auction system, the development of renewable energy shall – in line with the international trend – become more competitive, controllable and costeffective.


Newsletter Issue No. 126 | April 2019

Losses in EU trade due to a shortage of transport permits for trucks

Almost 40% of the value of Ukraine’s exports to the EU in 2018 was transported by trucks. At the same time, Ukrainian road carriers experienced a shortage of transport permits for key EU countries. Transport
permits for Ukrainian trucks to operate in several EU countries ran out before the end of 2018. Most strongly affected were permits for Poland. Noticeable shortages at the end of 2018 also affected permits for
Germany, Austria and Slovakia.


Policy Paper 01/2019

Central Bank Digital Currencies: A Survey of the Key Issues

Central bank digital currency (CBDC) is currently a hot topic, discussed in a significant number of central banks as well as in academic circles. As can be expected, there is no clear-cut definition of CBDC. Rather, there are different variants of CBDC being in discussion with mainly one feature in common: It is digital money issued by the central bank. For the purpose of this paper, we focus on CBDC on an account basis that is available for the general public. Thus, in this paper, CBDC is synonym for digital money deposited at the central bank, with every adult being entitled to hold such an account, without any limit to swap deposits against CBDC.


Newsletter Issue No. 125 | March 2019

Currency liberalization in Ukraine: a fundamental step forward

Since February 7, 2019, the new Law on Currency has taken effect. It shifts the authority on certain capital flow restrictions from the level of Parliament to the level of regulatory acts issued by the National Bank of
Ukraine. In contrast to the previous post-Soviet spirit of strict capital controls, the new law is based on the fundamental principle: “Everything which is not specifically forbidden is allowed”.


Newsletter Issue No. 124 | February 2019

Ukraine’s upcoming presidential elections

The electoral campaign for the upcoming Ukrainian presidential elections on 31 March is now in full swing. Amidst difficult reforms that do not deliver on citizens’ expectations of the Euromaidan protests, and a
military conflict with Russia in Eastern Ukraine, candidates look for new ways to convince a weary and undecided electorate that immediate progress is still feasible. The contenders’ views on conflict settlement
and corruption will likely determine their odds at winning the presidency. The overall outcome, however, is highly unpredictable. Domestic elites as
well as external actors may take advantage of the mood swings of Ukrainian citizens and the weak state institutions to sway election results in their favour.


Newsletter Issue No. 123 | January 2019

IMF programme supports stable economic outlook

The cooperation with the IMF, which was resumed at the end of last year, has already borne fruit. Inflation is slowly declining; foreign exchange reserves have reached a multi-year high and public finances contin-ue to consolidate. The macroeconomic and financial situation is therefore stable, which is not a given in the light of the upcoming elections and a rather vola-tile global environment. Given the high external pub-lic debt interest and principal payments schedules for the current and upcoming year (USD 13.3 bn), there is no alternative to the cooperation with the IMF.


Newsletter Issue No. 122 | December 2018

Challenges to agricultural budget support policy

Over the last years, Ukraine’s agri-food sector demon-strated resilient growth and developed into a key source of foreign exchange for the economy. In 2017, it accounted for 14.5% of GDP and more than 42% of total goods exports. This positive development came against a significant reduction in the volume of agri-cultural budget support over the recent years. The structure of the support also changed, moving from tax benefits to direct support in the form of input sub-sidies. However, the way the direct support pro-grammes are designed and implemented, as well as the negative effects of input subsidies on efficiency and productivity, raise serious concerns about their sustainability and effectiveness. A more targeted and modern approach is needed in order to address the current major problems of the sector (shortage of workers and financial constraints) under severe fiscal constraints facing the country.


Newsletter Issue No. 121 | November 2018

The new IMF agreement: all good things come in threes

Ukraine has recently reached an agreement with the IMF on the continuation of the financial cooperation. Although the final decision by the IMF Executive Board is still outstanding, this would be the third programme since 2014. A smooth implementation of the USD 14.9 bn programme over the coming 14 months would be an important anchor for the macro-financial stability of Ukraine in the double election year 2019. Particularly in the context of further financial support by the EU and World Bank, the external public debt service would be made much easier.


Newsletter Issue No. 120 | October 2018

Reform proposals for improvement of the investment climate

After overcoming the economic crisis of 2014/15, Ukraine is back on course for growth. However, to give their citizens a real perspective, higher growth rates are needed and more investment is a key prerequisite.


Newsletter Issue No. 119 | September 2018

Decentralisation reform in Ukraine

Since 2014, the Ukrainian government has initiated extensive reforms. While some reform projects have stalled recently, the comprehensive decentralisation reform is considered one of the most successful and
dynamic reforms in Ukraine, despite challenges and difficulties. It has already changed the reality of many people’s lives outside the capital Kyiv. In the last four years, the reorganization of the municipalities has
been driven forward and competencies and resources have been transferred from the central state to the local level. The decentralisation reform is supported by Ukraine’s Western partners, above all the EU and Germany. Despite successes, however, there is still a long way to go before the reform is completed.


Newsletter Issue No. 118 | August 2018

Ukraine’s exports grow, driven by shipments to the EU

Ukraine’s exports continue to grow for the second year in a row, although at a somewhat slower pace than in 2017. The growth has been driven primarily by strong expansion of exports to the EU, where the DCFTA has been fully enacted since September 2017, although actual implementation started earlier.


Newsletter Issue No. 117 | July 2018

Economic outlook: growth continues, but fiscal risks remain

Ukraine’s economic growth is slightly accelerating: after growing by 2.5% in 2017, real GDP is forecast to increase by 3.2% this year and 3.3% in 2019. The demand-side drivers are investment and consumption, with most sectors on the supply side growing as well. Inflation continues to run above the National Bank’s inflation target and is forecast at 9% at the end of 2018. This has led to hikes in the policy rate, which currently amounts to 17.5%. In all likelihood, inflation will only return to the target band set by the National Bank at the end of next year.


Newsletter Issue No. 116 | June 2018

Anti-corruption reforms in Ukraine: progress or lack thereof?

During four years of anti-corruption reforms, a number of institutions were established to tackle the problem at different levels. New state bodies provide the infrastructure for investigation and prosecution of criminal cases, for monitoring, guidance and surveillance of implementation of anti-corruption measures, and administration of confiscated assets.