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8:19 AM Friday, September 21, 2018
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UBJ.am Wednesday, July 25
Ukraine close to finalizing IMF deal; Trade with Israel up over 5%; Tetra Tech win $85m USAID contract; Preply secure $4m in new investment; Electric car sales up7%; Ukraine becomes frozen fruit superpower.
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Ukraine is close to finalising a deal with the IMF to resume a USD $17.5 billion bail out, reports Bloomberg. Ukraine had been told by IMF officials that it would have to raise household prices of natural gas in order to resume the transfer of IMF funds. Resolving this issue would mean that a USD $1.9 billion disbursement to Ukraine could take place soon. Acting Finance Minister Oksana Markarova is quoted by Bloomberg as saying that active discussions are underway and both sides are "very close" to reaching a deal.

Ukraine's trade with with Israel has shown further signs of strong growth in the first five months of this year. Exports have grown by just over 5 percent, compared to the same period in 2017. The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade press office reports that during the first five months of this year USD $297.3 million in Ukrainian goods were exported to Israel, an increase of USD $16 million compared to last year. Officials say that there is still great potential for improving bilateral trade between the two countries, with IT and manufacturing still seen as areas of significant potential growth.

Tetra Tech, a global supplier of consulting and engineering services, has been awarded a USD $85 million contract by USAID to support and improve energy security in Ukraine, the company has said in a press release. The company will provide technical expertise to support investment in renewable and affordable energy here, the company said. Competitive energy market reforms and renewable energy feasibility assessments to facilitate private sector investment in renewable energy are reportedly a priority for the US-based company.

Preply, an online Ukrainian tutoring service, has attracted USD $4 million in new investment from the German venture capital fund Point Nine Capital. Preply says that over 100,000 students around the world now use the service to find a language tutor who can teach via Skype and other digital platforms. The USD $4 million in new investment will allow the company to expand its operations and team, as reported. The funding has also helped Preply to open a second office in Berlin and expand the company's senior team. Since launch, the company has grown from five international marketplaces to 215 with about 25,000 tutors teaching 40 languages via the platform.

Sales of electric cars are increasing across Ukraine. From January to June this year, 1,788 electric cars have been registered, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, citing a report by the Federation of Employees of the Automotive Industry. The sale of 1,788 electric cars represents a 7 percent increase over the same period last year, when sales of electric vehicles began to show signs of gradual recovery. Official data shows that Nissan is still the most popular manufacturer of electric cars, more popular than Tesla and BMW, although all of those manufacturers have reported an increase in sales this year.

Kernel, the Ukrainian producer of sunflower oil and the largest producer in the world, has received USD $136.5 million in VAT refunds so far this year, according to data from the State Treasury Service.

Ukraine continues along the path to becoming a frozen fruit superpower with a 59 percent increase in exports of frozen fruit so far this year, compared to the same period in 2017. Ukraine has already exported USD $100 million worth of frozen fruit and berries in the first half of 2018. The exports are USD $64 million worth of walnuts, USD $23 million worth of frozen berries and USD $8 million worth of apples and pears. Most exports are to the EU.

The ‘Internet of Things’ is officially coming to Ukraine, thanks to mobile operator Lifecell.The telecommunications company will soon begin to implement the first stage of Ukraine's Internet of Things network, eventually allowing users across the country to connect their devices across an interconnected network. The Internet of Things is the term coined for network infrastructure that allows consumer devices to communicate with each other and their owner. A press release from Lifecell states that they will begin testing their ambitious network in August and the first stage of the project will cover the capital city of Kyiv. Planners say that 90 percent of the city's territory will be covered, enabling the connection of about 200,000 different devices.

The average price of a rented apartment in Ukraine has increased further, according to data from the State Statistics Service of Ukraine. From January to June this year prices have risen by 3.5 percent on average, compared to the same period last year, official data shows. Single room apartments show the biggest cost increase and have risen in price by 5.6 percent on average – two room apartments have risen by 3.6 percent and three room apartments by 1.2 percent. It's not immediately clear how the State Statistics Service has reliably calculated average price increases.

The National Bank of Ukraine has issued a warning against an allegedly “fraudulent” company on their Facebook page. The NBU says that Royal Standard is offering deposit services and loans without having any licenses to do so. The NBU further said in their post that they do not grant licenses for lending to entities that don't have the status of a bank. Furthermore, Royal Standard has not received any licenses or permission from any other Ukrainian financial regulators that can do so, the NBU added.

Ukraine stands ready to provide emergency assistance to Greece as the country combats deadly wildfires near the capital city of Athens, Prime Minister Vlodymyr Groysman has said in a statement. The PM also made the offer clear in a 1:1 conversation with his Greek counterpart, Alexis Tsipras, a government press secretary said, as reported by Ukrinform.

Gas transit through Ukraine after 2019 looks uncertain, writes Oksana Ishchuk for Ukrinform. A lot for Ukraine depends on what can be agreed between major powers like the United States, the EU and Russia, wrote Ishchuk, an analyst for the Ukrainian think-tank, the Centre for Global Studies Strategy XXI. “Gazprom is doing everything it can to delay negotiations on a transit contract. Such actions are aimed only at one thing – to create a time lag for launching Nord Stream 2 and wait for presidential elections in Ukraine that may change the country's political course in accordance with the Kremlin's perceptions.” Read the full article here: https://www.ukrinform.net/rubric-economy/2504688-gas-transit-via-ukraine-after-2019.html

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