Business news from Ukraine

Foreign investment in China in January-April fell by nearly 30%

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in mainland China’s economy in January-April fell 27.9% year-on-year to 360.2 billion yuan ($49.7 billion), according to the country’s Ministry of Commerce.

That included 58.5 billion yuan in FDI last month, the lowest since November. The figure fell 36% year-over-year and 32% month-over-month.

In January-April, about 12.7% of total investment was in the PRC’s high-tech sector.

As reported, FDI in 2023 fell 8% to 1.13 trillion yuan.
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Ukraine wants to attract private investors to lend to investment projects in ports

The state intends to attract private investors to lend to projects for the repair, modernization, reconstruction, and construction of strategic port infrastructure facilities in Ukraine with the possibility of compensation for the funds spent through port dues.

The relevant provisions are contained in the draft resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers “Some issues of compensation for investments made by business entities in strategic port infrastructure facilities that are state-owned”, the text of which is posted on the website of the Ministry of Community Development, Territories and Infrastructure (Ministry of Health) for discussion.

The document provides for the approval of the procedure and conditions for concluding agreements on the basis of which investments made by business entities in strategic port infrastructure facilities are compensated, as well as amendments to the Cabinet of Ministers Resolution No. 899 of October 3, 2012, according to which public sector entities may make expenditures on capital investments, in particular on port infrastructure facilities, in the absence of an approved financial plan.

It is noted that the amount of investment compensation should not exceed the amount of funds actually paid by the investor to finance the design or construction of port infrastructure facilities.

In addition, it is noted that the investor may be a legal entity or an individual entrepreneur. There may be several investors at one facility.

At the same time, the new procedure will not apply to legal relations involving business entities that make private investments in port infrastructure facilities on the basis of agreements concluded under public-private partnerships, including concession agreements and lease agreements for state property.

The Ministry of Reconstruction expects that the adoption of this resolution will help restore strategic port infrastructure facilities, accelerate the growth of maritime transport, improve the competitiveness of seaports and increase their investment attractiveness.

“Due to the military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, there is a problem of insufficient funding for the maritime industry, in particular due to imperfect fiscal policy, which leads to a lack of funds at the state-owned enterprise Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority (USPA),” the explanatory note to the draft resolution says.

It is noted that the USPA has entered into contracts for a number of construction projects, but “due to lack of funds and the state’s dividend policy, it is not possible to implement even part of these projects.”

At the same time, the USPA is facing an acute issue of the need to reconstruct and maintain port infrastructure, including berthing facilities. As of February 24, 2022, the state-owned enterprise had 265 berths (cargo, auxiliary, passenger) located in 13 seaports of Ukraine. Of this number, 20 are unsuitable for normal operation, 37 require significant investment in the next five years, and more than 50 operate with low economic efficiency – they need to be restored through overhaul or reconstruction.

In addition, it is indicated that, according to preliminary calculations, in the period before the full-scale invasion, the need for USPA to finance projects for the reconstruction, modernization and construction of berths alone (more than 48 projects, of which 36 are for reconstruction and modernization) was estimated at UAH 12 billion over four years.

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Foreign direct investment of France and Spain in China increased 5-7 times in January-February

The volume of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the economy of mainland China in January-February 2024 decreased by 19.9% compared to the same period last year and amounted to 215.1 billion yuan ($30 billion), according to the Ministry of Commerce.

In particular, the inflow of foreign investment in the high-tech sector increased by 10.1% to 28.27 billion yuan.
At the same time, France’s foreign direct investment in China in January-February increased by 6.9 times in annual terms, Spain’s – by 5 times, Germany’s – by 2.4 times.
Over two months, 7.16 thousand new enterprises with foreign capital were registered in the country, which is 34.9% more than in January-February 2023, Xinhua reports.

“The 34.9% growth is the highest in the last five years. This indicates that multinationals are still optimistic about the development opportunities of the Chinese market,” a ministry spokesperson told the agency. – “Despite the decline in the volume of actually utilized FDI in the first two months, this is the third highest figure in the last ten years.

“At present, the favorable factors for attracting foreign investment in China outweigh the unfavorable ones, and the investment prospects are still bright,” the ministry representative added.

As reported, the volume of FDI in 2023 decreased by 8% and amounted to 1.13 trillion yuan.

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44% of Ukrainian enterprises are ready to invest in development

Despite problems with finding workers, rising prices of raw materials and physical threats, Ukrainian businesses are optimistic about the future, 44% of surveyed enterprises are ready to invest in their development or recovery, these are the results of the February New Monthly Enterprises Survey (#NRES) of the Institute for Economic and Policy Research (IEP).

“Businesses are quite optimistic about investment given that a full-scale war is ongoing. For example, 42% of businesses believe that now is more or less a favorable time to invest in equipment. For comparison, at the beginning of 2015, when the ATO was in an active phase, the share of such enterprises amounted to only 14%”, – commented the results of the study, Eugene Angel, a senior researcher at the IEI.

The IEI also pointed out that business is gradually coming out of the state of complete uncertainty and begins to make plans for the future: in February 2024, only about 15% of business owners and managers could not give an answer about their business plans for the next six months, while a year ago there were about 40% of them.

At the same time, the level of uncertainty in the perspective of two years is still quite high – about 50% of respondents.

“A significant decrease in the number of those who find it difficult to make plans for the next six months indicates that optimism is returning to Ukrainian businesses. Moreover, the share of enterprises operating at 100% capacity is gradually increasing: in February 2023 there were 6% of such enterprises, now there are already 15%. But, of course, it is difficult for businessmen to make plans for the long term (2 years) in the conditions of war”, – said Oksana Kuzyakiv, Executive Director of IEI.

According to the published data, for the second month in a row the Business Activity Recovery Index (BAI) decreased – by almost 10 p.p. – From 0.43 to 0.34. As for its components, the share of enterprises that reported that their business activity was better than in the previous year decreased from 56.0% in January to 44.8% in February, nothing changed for 44.0% (30.9% in January), the share of those for whom the situation was worse than a year ago remained without significant changes for several months in a row (13.1% in January and 11.2% in February).

According to the survey, the main obstacles to investment are economic uncertainty, political instability and insufficient corporate profits.

As for the obstacles to doing business, February 2024 saw some changes in the list of obstacles: the assessment of rising prices for raw materials and commodities rose from 46% to 49%, and labor shortages rose from 41% to 46%, which respectively moved them to the 1st and 2nd places.

At the same time, the obstacle “not safe to work” dropped from 1st to 3rd place, although its value decreased slightly from 46% to 45%.

Estimates of power outages dropped from 26% to 24%, which is only the 7th most important obstacle, while corruption and pressure from law enforcement agencies ranked even lower in the survey.

In February, compared to January, the share of enterprises operating at full capacity slightly increased – from 13% to 15%, while the share of non-operating enterprises remains unchanged for half a year and amounts to 2% of respondents.

The survey emphasizes that the share of positive assessments of the government’s policy to support business is 8% and has remained unchanged for more than half a year, while 55% (58% in January) assess it neutrally, and 18% negatively (16% a month earlier).

IEI specialists also recorded a slight decrease in problems with finding labor: qualified workers are difficult to find for 31% of surveyed entrepreneurs (32.4% in January), and unskilled workers – for 26.5% of respondents (27.4% a month earlier).

The monthly IEI survey in February involved 542 Ukrainian enterprises located in 21 out of 27 regions of Ukraine. The field stage of the 22nd wave of the survey lasted from February 19 to February 29, 2024.

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EBRD and 19 development finance institutions sign Memorandum of Understanding on Investment in Ukraine

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and 19 financial development institutions (DFIs) signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the Conference on Reconstruction of Ukraine in London to promote joint investments in the private sector of the Ukrainian economy.
“The signing of this memorandum … was the next step in the implementation of the agreement between the EBRD and the G7 DFIs to create a common platform for investment in Ukraine, which was announced at the G7 meeting in Tokyo last month,” the bank said in a press release.
It is noted that the main goal of creating the joint platform between the EBRD and DFI is to promote co-financing by strengthening cooperation and dialogue between partners in the context of providing assistance for reconstruction of Ukraine.
It is noted that the priority of investment initiatives will be given to the private sector of Ukraine’s economy.
“Ukraine’s financial needs during the recovery phase will be very significant, and therefore will require the combined efforts of financial institutions. To maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of their activities, Ukraine’s partners must ensure careful coordination among themselves. The private sector will play an extremely important role in the recovery of the Ukrainian economy,” stressed the EBRD.
The Bank points out that it is ready to work together with the DFI to improve the efficiency and quality of assistance to Ukraine and neighboring countries affected by Russia’s military aggression.
It is specified that the memorandum was signed by British International Investment, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, DEG (Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft), Development Finance Institute Canada (DFIC), Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Proparco, USA International Development Finance Corporation, Belgium Investment Company for developing countries.
Also in this list are Compañía Española de financiación del desarrollo (Cofides), Finnfund, Investment Fund for Developing Countries, Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden, Norfund, Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank, Sociedade para o Financiamento do desenvolvimento, instituicao financeira de credito, Swiss Investment Fund for Developing Markets and Swedfund international.

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Denmark opened investment fund for Ukraine worth 1 bln Danish kroner

Friday, May 26, at the Ukrainian Investment Forum in Copenhagen, it was announced the launch of a Danish investment fund social program for Ukraine totaling DKK 1 billion, which is about $133 million, the press service of the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine reported.
“Denmark is one of the leaders in financial assistance to Ukraine. Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion the total military support amounted to $1.4 billion and the total humanitarian aid, including macrofinancial assistance – $212 million. The Ukrainian government highly appreciates Danish support and looks forward to deepening bilateral cooperation and further involving Danish businesses in the reconstruction projects in Ukraine. Thus, special investment fund, created for Ukraine, will finance projects with the use of the best Danish technologies and innovative solutions and will be available for both public and private sectors”, – noted the First Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Economy of Ukraine Yulia Sviridenko.
As Deputy Minister of Economy Alexander Griban noted, the main cooperation between Ukraine and Denmark is establishment of mutually beneficial relations, when Ukrainian companies not only import Danish products, but also localize the production of such products in Ukraine.
“We are interested in Danish technologies and we see big prospect in application and localization of Danish companies in Ukraine in priority branches. In particular, these are renewable energy, construction materials, technologies of municipal economy renovation as well as defense and dual-purpose technologies”, he said.
In addition, the forum announced funding approval of two pilot projects in the field of agriculture and agro-processing. The question is about the affected companies of the southern region – “Nibulon”, which will receive a credit of 25 mln Euros, and “Agrofusion” – 15 mln Euros. Also, loans will be granted to agricultural companies located near the front line in Mykolayiv, which will restore the destroyed production facilities, buying equipment from Danish exporters.
According to Griban, the Danish fund will not only provide financial guarantees, but will also directly carry out lending, which puts it on a separate level of financial institutions that have opened their programs for Ukraine. Also, the Danish government plans to significantly increase the limits and expand the financial assistance program for Ukraine.
“We don’t have to wait for the war to stop. We would like to attract Danish business in the early stages of Ukraine’s recovery. We must act and support the Ukrainian economy,” stressed Morten Bedskov, Minister of Entrepreneurship of Denmark.