13:20 PM Friday, November 16, 2018 Monday, June 4
Astarta completes spring sowing; cooperation prospects with Qatar, Organisation of Islamic States and China; IMF perturbed; New bridge across the Danube; Passenger traffic up at Kyiv airport.
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Astarta completes spring sowing campaign in record time. Astarta agroindustrial holding, the largest sugar producer in Ukraine, has completed sowing of spring crops on around 170,000 ha. The holding says that sugar beet was sowed on 41,000 ha, sunflower on 41,000 ha, corn on 67,000 ha, soybean on 20,000 ha, and the rest are under other crops (barley, oats, buckwheat and other). "The structure of crop rotation reflects the existing market trends. Thus, the reduction of sugar beet plantings will allow the company to organize harvesting and processing of beets in the optimal terms, focusing on the cost-efficiency and quality of sugar,”Astarta says, Interfax-Ukraine reports.

Ukraine discussing supply of liquefied natural gas with Qatar. President Petro Poroshenko has announced that because the diversification of sources of gas supplies is a matter of national security, “we are currently holding talks with Qatar's leadership on supplies of Qatari liquefied natural gas….The gas can be supplied through the already operating regasification terminal in Poland,” Al Jazeera reports. But this will require Turkey’s cooperation. Ukraine and Qatar have already received assurances of Ankara’s interest in the scheme, Interfax-Ukraine reports.

Ukraine seeking observer status in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. President Poroshenko says that Ukraine annually exports USD 8 billion worth of goods to the Arab states, so cooperation with them occupies an important place in Ukraine's economic strategy and foreign policy. "We enjoy the full support of our friendly Arab countries in order to obtain observer status in this organization. We expect and hope that we will eventually get such membership," Poroshenko said, Interfax Ukraine reports.

China eyeing cooperation with Ukraine in four sectors. China's cooperation with Ukraine has four at least four promising areas for Chinese business, Secretary-General of the China Overseas Development Association He Zhenwei says.They are: infrastructure, energy, particularly solar energy, agriculture, and culture and tourism, he said at a meeting of the entrepreneurs of Kherson held within the framework of the 2nd Ukrainian-Chinese Economic Cooperation Forum, Ukrinform reports.

Shares of Russian gas pipeline companies Nord Stream, Nord Stream 2 frozen? The shares of the companies of Russian gas pipelines Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 have apparently been frozen after the decision of the Stockholm Arbitrage in favor of Naftogaz Ukraine in a dispute with the Russian Gazprom. This was reported by Interfax-Ukraine with reference to a source in the industry. According to the decision of the court, Naftogaz was awarded USD 4.63 billion compensation for the transit gas that had been agreed on, but not delivered by Gazprom. The latter has so far refused to accept the judgement and Ukraine has initiated legal appropriate action.

IMF warns Ukraine about possible disruption of loan program. The Fund considers that Ukraine is violating commitments made while receiving the previous tranche. As indicated in a letter written by IMF Mission Chief for Ukraine Ron van Rooden to the Ukrainian government, it is dissatisfied with decisions of the Ukrainian government regarding the authority of the Ministry of Finance and subordination of the State Fiscal Service. The press service of the prime minister has denied that the decision to remove control over the Service from the Ministry has been finalized, while Finance Minister, Oleksandr Danyliuk, has stated publicly that this is indeed the case, and that such a decision is politically motivated and illegal, UNIAN reports.

Government sees no alternative to securing further support from the IMF. Abandoning cooperation with the IMF is not a viable option and the government will do its utmost to continue cooperating with the Fund, and to secure parliament’s support to this end. "We cannot accept an option that we will not be in the program with the IMF," First Deputy Minister of Finance Oksana Markarova says. Quitting the cooperation with the Fund would be irresponsible. She stressed that the IMF programme is not financial assistance to the budget, but first and foremost a positive signal for investors and the country’s partners. In 2018, Ukraine hopes for US$1.9 billion in an IMF disbursement and loans on foreign markets. It also expects to receive EUR 1 billion in macro-financial assistance from the European Union, UNIAN reports.

New IMF programme not to be envisaged before 2020. If Ukraine receives the next tranche from the IMF later this year, a new IMF programme will not be available earlier than in 2020 due to the holding of presidential and parliamentary elections in the country in 2019. "Therefore, we should not wait for a new programme next year. I think it could come in 2020 if there is such a need," the Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Yakiv Smolii said, as reported by UNIAN.

International reserves rise to USD 18.4 billion. After a deficit in March 2018, Ukraine's balance of payments saw a surplus of USD 175 million in April 2018, according to the NBU. It was due to a narrowing of the deficit of trade in goods and lower public debt servicing payments. At the same time, the current account surplus in April was almost at the level of the respective month of last year. In the first four months of 2018 net income from foreign direct investment amounted to USD 394 million, Ukrinform reports.

New bridge across Danube. President Poroshenko has opened a new bridge crossing across the M15 Odesa-Reni motorway located near the village of Palanka, Moldova. Built between December 2016 to May 2018, it is 152.36 metres long and cost UAH 112.4 million, or USD 4.3 million. The bridge is of strategic importance for Odesa region, as it connects the southern part of the region (Bessarabia), nine districts, and also the large cities (Bilhorod-Dnistrovsky, Izmail, Tatarbunary, Reni, Bolhrad, Vilkovo, Kiliya) through the Dniester River floodplain with the regional center and the capital, UNIAN reports.

Passenger traffic at Lviv Airport up by more than 50% in January-May 2018 y-o-y. Passenger traffic grew at Danylo Halystkiy International Airport by 51.2% compared to the same period last year, up from 315,000 to 477,700 passengers. The number of flights increased by 32.1% - from 4,005 to 5,289, Ukrinform reports.
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