Ukraine

Foreign investors have ended their near-boycott of Ukrainian local currency government debt, returning en masse in recent months amid an improving political and economic backdrop, the Financial Times reported. Just 1.6 per cent of Ukraine’s hryvnia-denominated sovereign bonds were held by foreign investors in December, in the wake of a series of calamities that had seen the currency ship 70 per cent of its value against the dollar since the start of 2014.

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The operator of the gas transportation system, Ukrtransgaz, has signed an agreement on debt restructuring in the amount of UAH 1.47 billion with the ERU Trading company. Ukrtransgaz said this in a statement, the Ukrainian News Agency reported. “On June 27, Ukrtransgaz concluded an agreement on debt restructuring for a total amount of UAH 1.47 billion, writing off penalties imposed and settling other mutual claims with ERU Trading,” the statement reads.

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An ally of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy rejected an influential businessman’s call to default on the nation’s external debt, saying the proposal is the view of a “detached oligarch,” Bloomberg News reported. "Default is not in the interest of the state. Any responsible government must avoid it," former Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk, who advised Zelenskiy’s campaign and is slated to join the National Defense and Security Council in the new administration, told Bloomberg.

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Ukraine is investigating whether a charitable foundation set up primarily to coordinate London-listed Ferrexpo Plc’s philanthropic activities was used to launder money and evade taxes, Bloomberg News reported. Officials of Blooming Land Charitable Foundation abused their powers to seek “illicit benefits,” damaging state interests, a Ukraine prosecutor said in a court filing in Kiev in February. Blooming Land may have received payments from businesses, “legalizing the proceeds via converting them into cash under the guise of donations for charity,” other court documents allege.

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The Deposit Guarantee Fund of Ukraine last week sold insolvent banks' assets worth UAH 80.26 million, the fund's press service reports. “Last week the assets of 25 banks, which are in the management of the Fund, were sold for UAH 80.26 million,” the report says. In particular, UAH 50.56 million was received from the repayment of fund creditors' claims, UAH 26.08 million from the sale of main banks' assets, and UAH 3.14 million from the sale of accounts receivable. Also, UAH 0.15 million was obtained from the direct sale of banks’ property.

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Ukrainian tycoon Ihor Kolomoisky won a major victory on Thursday in his battle with the government over the nationalization of the country’s largest bank as a court ruled the change of ownership was illegal, Reuters reported. The ruling is a big setback for the government, which wrested PrivatBank from Kolomoisky, a co-founder of the bank, in December 2016. PrivatBank was nationalized as part of a clean-up of the banking system backed by the International Monetary Fund, which supports Ukraine with a $3.9 billion loan program.

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The Deposit Guarantee Fund has temporary suspended payments to depositors of insolvent JSC Zlatobank, the Fund's press service reports, MENAFN reported. "The Grand Chamber of the Supreme Court under the ruling as of February 5, 2019 denied motions submitted by the Deposit Guarantee Fund and National Bank of Ukraine against the decision of Kyiv Administrative Court of Appeal, dated October 25, 2017, canceling liquidation of JSC Zlatobank, the statement says. Read more

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The International Monetary Fund approved a new $3.9 billion bailout program for Ukraine to help stabilize the economy and help the government pay back its debts, according to President Petro Poroshenko, Bloomberg News reported. The board of the Washington-based lender agreed on Tuesday to provide the eastern European country with the first $1.4 billion disbursement. It’s part of the stand-by program which replaces a bailout that suffered long delays as the government failed to implement the reforms necessary to release the cash.

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Ukraine’s central bank declared insolvent Kremlin-run lender VTB’s local subsidiary on Tuesday, ending a long-running struggle over the Russian state’s role in the country after the annexation of Crimea, the Financial Times reported. The National Bank of Ukraine said it would wind down VTB Ukraine’s operations after its Moscow parent “failed to comply with banking law and the [NBU’s] regulations” and “made no attempt to keep the bank solvent”.

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A deepening row between Russia and Ukraine ignited by a naval skirmish at the weekend has sparked falls in both countries’ financial markets, the Financial Times reported. Ukraine’s government bonds issued in foreign currency faced significant drops in price, which sent yields rising. Yield on a 10-year dollar-denominated bond maturing in November 2028 jumped 38.7 basis points to 10.832 per cent, its highest level since issuance. A 15-year dollar bond that matures in September 2032 faced a similar rise in yield to 10.385 per cent, also a record high for the paper.

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