•The Ukrainian central bank is stepping up efforts to push Russian state-owned commercial banks out of the local market, according to Voice of America. Five Russian state-owned banks operate in Ukraine, including three in the top 20, and their combined market share is roughly 9 percent.
•Zaporizhia-based Industrialbank and Kyiv-headquartered Express Bank are going to merge, reported Ekonomicheskaya Pravda. Mikhail Bukreev, the board chairman of Industrialbank, said the merger is crucial, and he said it would benefit both customers and stockholders.
•The ongoing decline in turnover at Ukrainian ports deepened in 2016 as the country posted an 8.6 percent drop from 2015, the steepest in four years, according to the Center for Transport Strategies. “That means Ukraine is losing its position in the export of two other basic goods, ferrous metals and iron ore, which account for over a third of the ports' total turnover,” said consultant Andrei Isayev.
•The Cabinet will exclude the Food and Grain Corp. of Ukraine from the list of state-owned companies subject to privatization in 2017, the government said Wednesday in a report picked up by Interfax Ukraine. The government said it reached that decision in part because the business cannot be privatized without the consent of its main creditor, the Export-Import Bank of China.
•Iran invited Ukraine to join the international Persian Gulf-Black Sea agreement, multiple sources reported. Ukrainian officials said the plan is important for the development of a transportation corridor linking India, Iran and the Black Sea. It is also expected to boost traffic on the trans-Caspian route.
•Ukraine’s exports to the European Union in 2016 amounted to 37 percent of the country's overall exports for the year, marking a 3 percent increase, according to Ukrinform. Meanwhile, only 9.8 percent of Ukrainian exports in 2016 went to Russia, a precipitous drop of more than 25 percent.
•Total agricultural output by Ukrainian producers in 2016 grew 6 percent and was highlighted by a nearly 40 increase in buckwheat production as well as record-breaking harvests of wheat, sunflowers and sugar beets, Ukrinform reported.
•Ukraine's Cabinet on Wednesday adopted a resolution to boost cooperation with the EU in the aviation sphere, multiple sources reported.
•Passenger traffic at Kharkiv International Airport was up 45 percent in January year on year, thanks in large part to Istanbul flights, and Lviv's airport saw 55 percent more passengers in the same time period, the Center for Transport Strategies reported. Also, Lviv airport management will try to lure budget airline Norwegian to offer service to Norway, Europe and South America.
•A Bulgarian company, Fisherman Investments, plans to buy a Ukrainian glass production factory, Novoe Vremya reported. The firm will purchase a controlling share of the Kostopolskii plant.
•Finance Minister Alexander Danyliuk announced that Ukraine plans to borrow on foreign markets by issuing eurobonds this year, but the issue won't be for a large amount because Ukraine relies more on loans from its main lenders, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, Unian reported.
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