- Faced with stubbornly high inflation, the National Bank of Ukraine will raise its discount rate on Friday by one percentage point, to 14.5% per annum. Prices through November were up 13.6%, year over year. This is well above the central bank’s forecast of 12.2% for the entire year. “Tightening monetary policy is necessary to bring inflation down to the bank’s target in the medium term,” the bank said in its statement. “If fundamental inflation risks increase further, the NBU may resort to further key rate hikes.” Timothy Ash writes: “NBU showing its mettle and independence, despite foot dragging from Poroshenko in naming a new governor.”
- International reserves will be "just below" $19 billion at the end of this year, Oleg Churiy, deputy head of the National Bank of Ukraine, told reporters Thursday. This will be a 17% increase over the end 2016 level of $15.54 billion.
- Oleg Churiy, NBU deputy governor, predicted Thursday in Kyiv that Ukraine will receive two IMF tranches for a total of $3-3.5 billion. But a few hours later, in Washington, IMF spokesman William Murray told reporters: "We have not yet scheduled the arrival of the mission for revision. And Ukraine and I still have to resolve a number of issues to complete the next revision."
- The NBU has relaxed rules for importing cash foreign currency by residents of Ukraine. Now individual Ukrainians can bring cash to the country in the amount of more than 10,000 euros, if the money is declared in the full amount, and if there are documents confirming the withdrawal of cash from accounts in financial institutions.
- “China to build monsters of the sky with Ukraine company” headlined Asia Times about the plans of Aerospace Industry Corp of China and Antonov to assemble two An-225 Mriya in Chengdu and Shaanxi. The Hong Kong-based news site cited CCTV and Sino Military as saying the Chinese aircraft company is considering ‘mass production’ of the six engine cargo planes at the two cities, which are 1,000 km apart in Central China.
- Electric car imports through November – 2,676 vehicles -- surpassed imports for all of last year – 2,274. Imports are expected to surge after Jan. 1 when import duties – about 20% of current prices – are dropped.
- Azerbaijan and Ukraine plan to establish a joint venture to produce railway cars, AzerNews reports. Ihor Manayenkov, deputy director of Kryukovsky Railway Car Building Works in Kremenchuk, said after meeting with Azer Khudiyev, Azerbaijan's Ambassador to Ukraine: “With the commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line, Azerbaijan has opened a wide corridor between Europe and Asia. From this point of view, Azerbaijan needs to produce new passenger and freight cars."
- Yuzmash aerospace manufacturing plant in Dnipro will open its doors to tourists next year, Xinhua reports. The rocket engine and spacecraft factory will be open only for tour groups, who will undergo advance security checks. Individual tourists will be prohibited from visiting the site. Anna Kolyeda, head of the Dnipro Development Agency, said: "We are following the path of real development of innovative space tourism in our city."
- Emigration is on the minds of half of 8,117 Ukrainian IT professionals surveyed by DOU.ua, the popular Ukrainian online IT community. Of the poll participants, 4% already emigrated, 9% are going to relocate, and 43% of IT professionals are considering moving abroad. Of the rest, 34% have no plans, 8% are definite about staying and 2% have returned home after work abroad. Among emigres, the top countries are: Poland -- 26%; Germany -- 19%; the USA -- 13%; and the Netherlands – 6%. Twice as many senior software engineers are leaving, compared to junior engineers.
- Houston-based Cub Energy Inc. and Slovakia’s Nafta a.s. are going to drill their first well in their Uzhgorod gas area in 2018, Cub Energy said in a statement. Last year, Nafta acquired half of the field from Cub and then conducted a 3D seismic survey. Elsewhere in Ukraine, Cub also plans to drill a well next year in its Zapadno-Olgovskoye field.
- Energoatom, the source of about half of Ukraine’s electric power, increased output of electricity by 7% through November, compared to the same period last year, according to the state-owned nuclear power company. Much of the extra 5 billion kWh has been exported to Ukraine’s European neighbors to the west.
- A bureaucratic impasse at the National Energy and Utilities Regulation Commission was broken Thursday when President Petro Poroshenko signed a law that grants him the powers to to appoint new members of the Commission. Without the law the Commission would have gone through the winter without a quorum, freezing energy investments that depend on Commission approval of tariffs.
- Canadian defense contractors can now sell to Ukraine such lethal weapons such as automatic firearms. Each sale will have to be approved by Canada’s government and will need an end user certificate. The approval comes one week before the arrival in Kyiv of Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, a strong advocate of an independent Ukraine.
- A new cyber attack on Ukrainian energy companies could be in the works, according to The Atlantic, the New York-based magazine. In a new article, titled "Will Ukraine Be Hit by yet Another Holiday Power-Grid Hack?" Robert Lee, CEO of the industrial-cybersecurity firm Dragos, says that in recent weeks he observed an unusual spike in activity in Ukraine by the group of developers who engineered the malware used in the 2016 attack."
- SkyUp, a Ukrainian discount airline, will start operating in April with an all Boeing fleet flying from Kyiv to such international destinations. Barcelona, Dubai and Larnaca, Cyprus. Two months later, domestic flights will start, connecting Odessa with Kyiv, Kharkiv and Lviv. The airline will follow a no frills, no free bags model, an approach that will allow it to offer one way flights from Kyiv to Odesa for 499 hryvnia, or $18.50.
- Kyiv’s Boryspil, Ukraine’s busiest airport, expects to end the year with a 20% increase in passengers over last year. On Dec. 7, Boryspil recorded its 10 millionth passenger of the year, a record since its opening in 1959.
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UBJ a.m. is reported by UBJ Editor in Chief James Brooke, a former New York Times foreign correspondent and Bloomberg Moscow bureau chief. For comments and story tips, Brooke is reachable at email@example.com