The World Bank has downgraded its inflation forecast for Ukraine to 20% by the end of 2022 from its April forecast of 15% inflation, Arup Banerji, World Bank Regional Country Director for Eastern Europe (Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine), has told Interfax-Ukraine.
“Inflationary pressures are rising. Consequently, at this stage, inflation is expected to continue rising and could reach 20% in December against 15% in our April forecasts,” Banerji said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
Banerji said that the rise in inflationary pressure is particularly because of the need to cover budgetary requirements in March-May.
“International partners have acknowledged the financial challenges, thus they have committed around $20 billion in financial assistance to Ukraine. Despite these significant commitments, the timing of repayments will continue to be critical in order to meet Ukraine’s current needs,” the World Bank regional director said.
The World Bank has also maintained its forecast for a sharp contraction of 44% in Ukraine’s GDP in 2022.
“However, owing to the length of the war, when hostilities continue in several regions of Ukraine, we cannot be sure of our preliminary forecasts for a recovery in the medium term relatively,” Banerji said.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) has downgraded its forecast for global trade growth in 2022 from 4.7% (in the October version) to 3.0%, noting that the Russian war against Ukraine threatens the fragile recovery of world trade, the WTO report says. published on Tuesday.
The outlook for the global economy deteriorated after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, “prompting WTO economists to reconsider their forecasts for world trade for the next two years,” the paper notes.
The organization now expects merchandise trade to grow by 3.0% in 2022, below its previous forecast of 4.7%, and by 3.4% in 2023. But these estimates are less accurate than usual because for the changing nature of the war, the authors of the review note.
“The most rapid economic impact of the crisis has been a sharp rise in commodity prices. Despite their small shares in global trade and manufacturing, Russia and Ukraine are key suppliers of essential commodities, including food, fuel and energy products and fertilizers, the supply of which is now Grain deliveries through the Black Sea ports have already been stopped, which could lead to serious consequences for the food security of poor countries,” the WTO said.
The vast majority, namely 83% of members of the European Business Association (EBA), forecast growth of their business in 2022, while a year ago 60% members said this, according to Business Forecast 2022 conducted by the European Business Association together with Nestlé Ukraine.
“In 2022, the vast majority, namely 83% of the respondents, forecast growth of their business, 15% of the directors assume it will be possible to sustain their business performance at the level of 2021, and only 2% expect some deterioration in their business situation (14% last year),” the EBA said.
According to the press release, the companies have significantly improved the financial forecasts for next year. Most entrepreneurs, namely 67%, forecast income growth by 10-20% – in hryvnia. This figure returned to the level of 2020 after a significant decline in the past.
Thus, 36% of directors expect revenue growth of up to 10% in volume terms, and almost half (49%) expect a 10-20% growth, the EBA said.
All respondents to this year’s survey note their plans to increase the salaries of their employees in 2022. Most managers, namely 55%, plan to increase salaries by 5-10%. Other 30% will increase salaries by 10-20%. It should be mentioned that last year 15% of the companies were not able to increase staff salaries.
The companies are enthusiastic about the plans to create new jobs. Thus, last year 60% of companies did not plan any changes in their staff, while this year their number is only 36%. The majority, namely 58% of the top managers, plan to expand their staff. And only 6% of the companies will be forced to reduce staff.
One-third of the entrepreneurs, namely 32%, plan to implement new investment projects next year with a budget from $20,000 to $400 million. Moreover, we are pleased to note that almost half of the respondents (49%) plan to invest in social initiatives aimed at supporting Ukrainian society next year.
“Such optimistic forecasts of the directors are certainly very uplifting. Maybe, for the first time since the pandemic broke, we can talk about a significant improvement in the assessments and sentiments of the top managers regarding their own business plans,” EBA Executive Director Anna Derevyanko said.
The CEOs also identified the top three tasks from business to the government for next year. It’s been the second year in a row that the first need mentioned is the need for judicial reform and the rule of law, the second is the fight against corruption, and the third is the need to ensure political stability and effective management in the country. Also, this year, the directors highlighted the importance of further reforming the tax and customs sectors.
Altogether, 95 CEOs of the EBA member companies took part in the Business forecast 2022 study, conducted in September 2021.
Oxford Economics has downgraded the forecast for Ukraine’s GDP growth in 2021 to 4% from 4.4% in the July forecast, and the risks of further lockdowns and expectations of tightening fiscal and monetary policy led to a deterioration in the forecast for economic growth in 2022 from 4.2% to 3.5%.
The disappointing Q2 data prompted us to cut our 2021 GDP growth forecast to 4% from 4.4% last month. And with Ukraine’s vaccination rate being one of the lowest in Europe, the COVID-19 infection rate may rise sharply again, according to the forecast of Oxford Economics for August.
According to the analysts, due to the lack of vaccines and hesitation regarding vaccination, the proportion of fully vaccinated is kept at less than 7% of the population. These factors pose significant downside risks to short-term growth forecasts.
Oxford Economics expects inflation to average 9.2% this year, with further declines to 6.7% and 5.4% in 2022 and 2023. At the same time, the hryvnia exchange rate on average in 2021 is projected at the level of UAH 28.4/$1, in 2022 – UAH 29.3/$1, in 2023 – UAH 29.4/$1.
As for further cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the resumption of the Stand-By Arrangement this year, Oxford Economics considers it unlikely, since the government manages the proceeds from two issues of eurobonds. The upcoming peak public debt repayments will help cover $ 2.7 billion from the new IMF SDR allocation.
In 2022, Ukraine will have to pay $ 6.5 billion on public debt. This year, Ukraine may miss the chance to receive a new tranche of the IMF due to lack of political will. In this case, the resumption of cooperation with the fund next year remains probable, the forecast says.
The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has revised its 2021 inflation forecast from 8% (in its April forecast) to 9.6%, and expects that inflation will return to 5% in H2 2022.
“With global prices surging and demand recovering further, the NBU has revised its 2021 inflation forecast from 8% to 9.6%. After peaking in the fall of this year, inflation will begin to slow as the new harvest arrives and global energy prices adjust… inflation in H2 2022 will decline to its 5% target and remain there going forward,” the NBU said on its website on Thursday.
Inflation will soon rise to slightly above 10%, but it will weaken at the end of 2021 and return to its 5% ± 1 pp target range in H2 2022.
The rise in inflationary pressure, including its fundamental component, is also driven by the dynamic recovery of the economy, as evidenced by monthly and other high-frequency indicators. By tightening its monetary policy, in particular through raising its key policy rate and rolling back its emergency monetary measures, the NBU will also keep inflation expectations under control and gradually reduce underlying inflationary pressures.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in its July report has improved the forecast for the production and export of Ukrainian wheat in the 2021/2022 marketing year (MY, July-June) by 500,000 tonnes compared to the forecast in June, to 30 million tonnes and 21 million tonnes, respectively.
In July, the USDA kept its forecast for corn exports from Ukraine in the 2021/2022 MY at 30.5 million tonnes, harvest – at 37.5 million tonnes.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture also predicts an increase in world grain trade in the 2021/2022 MY by 800,000 tonnes to a record 204 million tonnes due to increased exports from the EU, Ukraine and Australia, while Canada, Kazakhstan and the United States will reduce exports of this crop.