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Agreements with Russia enable Ukraine improve situation on financial market

December 19, 2013, 1:52 UTC+3 KIEV
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KIEV, December 19, 1:04 /ITAR-TASS/. The agreements reached in Moscow will give Ukraine an easier access to the external markets of borrowings on acceptable terms, so the problem of the deficit of the current account will partially be resolved, said a report of the experts of UkrSibbank on Wednesday.

“These news (agreements reached in Moscow on December 17 - Itar-Tass) are extremely favourable for fixed profitableness, rates, national currency, bonds of the quasi-state companies, etc.. The amount of concessions proved to be larger than was forecast, so we believe that details of the signed supplement to the gas deal should be thoroughly studied,” the experts of the bank point out.

Commenting on the gas deal, the analysts positively assessed the fact that the contract was concluded directly between the Naftogaz Ukrainy company and Gazprom and that the participation of any third parties (commercial suppliers) is not envisaged. If the entire amount of Russian gas Ukraine buys (approximately 27 billion cubic metres) will have a new price next year, Ukraine will save 4 billion dollars, or 2.3 percent of GDP. Hence, the deficit of the current account will shrink to 7.6 billion dollars, 4.4 percent of GDP in 2014, the experts believe.

Aleksandr Okhrimenko, the president of the Ukrainian Analytical Centre, holds that Russia’s purchasing Ukrainian eurobonds will enable the National Bank of Ukraine to increase the gold and currency reserves to 33-34 billion dollars and refuse to borrow funds from the International Monetary Fund on “draconic conditions”. “Now Ukraine can demand that the Fund drops its tough terms of freezing wages and increasing gas tariffs if the IMF wants Ukraine to draw a loan from it,” the expert said. Okhrimenko does not rule out that Ukraine may revalue the grivna to eight grivnas to dollar and even lower. “So currency speculators who now sell dollars for 8.3 grivnas will be buying currency from the population for 7.7-7.9 grivnas to dollar.

The financier believes that the main outcome of the talks in Moscow was the resumption of normal business relations between Ukraine and Russia as regards export and import. He remarked that while Ukraine was passively advancing toward the singing of the association agreement, the EU did not show the slightest consideration for Ukraine’s economic preferences. Now the IMF and the EU talk about being ready to give loans to Ukraine and freer access to Ukrainian goods to European markets,” he said.

Eric Neumann, leading partner of the investment company “Capital Times”, is also of the opinion that the National Bank of Ukraine can replenish currency reserves and get the opportunity for the money market liberalization. He believes the IMF will have no formal grounds for refusing from the resumption of cooperation with Ukraine. He believes it will be interesting to see whether economic or geopolitical considerations will prevail as the motivation for the Fund’s decisions. But then this can be seen only if Ukraine asks the IMF for a loan, the financier noted.

He holds that Russia’s purchase of Ukrainian eurobonds to 15 billion dollars will enable Ukraine to settle the debts for 2014 and, above all, to repay the loan to the IMF. Neumann believes that part of the sum will go to repay the debts for gas that Naftogaz Ukrainy company ran up in the recent months.

True, the experts and the government differ in the calculation of the sum saved as a result of the revision of the gas contract with Russia. While the experts believe it will amount to 4-5 billion dollars, Ukrainian Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Eduard Stavitsky cites the index of 7 billion dollars.

As many as 14 documents on commercial and economic relations between Russia and Ukraine were signed in Moscow on December 17. They include the documents on cutting the gas price to 268.5 billion dollars per thousand cubic metres and on granting Ukraine a loan of 15 billion dollars. According to the statements of the Russian side, the loan has no strings attached.

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