Business news from Ukraine

Ukraine exports $36 bln worth of goods in 2023

Exports of goods from Ukraine in 2023 fell by 18.5% year-on-year – from $44.2 billion to $36 billion, while imports increased by 14.4% – from $55.5 billion to $63.5 billion, the State Customs Service said on Friday.

As a result, according to its data, Ukraine’s foreign trade turnover for 2023 decreased by only 0.3% to $99.4 billion.

It is specified that taxable imports amounted to $52.6 billion, or 83% of the total volume of imported goods. It is noted that the tax burden per 1 kg of taxable imports in 2023 increased by 38% to $0.49/kg.

According to the released data, the most imported goods to Ukraine were China – in the amount of $10.4 billion, Poland – $6.6 billion and Germany – $4.9 billion, while the most exported were Poland – $4.7 billion, Romania – $3.7 billion, as well as China – $2.4 billion.

In the total volume of imported goods in 2023, 65% were machinery, equipment and transport – $19.8 billion (during customs clearance of such goods, UAH 141.7 billion or 31% of customs payments were paid to the budget), chemical products – $11 billion (UAH 74.8 billion or 16% of customs payments were paid to the budget) and fuel and energy products – $10.3 billion (UAH 103.4 billion or 23% of customs payments).

The top 3 exports from Ukraine in 2023 were food products – $21.8 billion, metals and metal products – $3.9 billion, as well as machinery, equipment and transport – $2.9 billion

The State Customs Service specified that 559.2 million UAH was paid to the budget during customs clearance of exports of goods for which the export duty was established.
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Negative balance of Ukraine’s foreign trade increased 2.8 times

The negative balance of Ukraine’s foreign trade in goods in January-November 2023 increased 2.8 times compared to the same period of 2022 – to $24.351 billion from $8.570 billion, the State Statistics Service (Gosstat) said on Monday.
According to its data, exports of goods from the country during the period decreased by 18.9% compared to January-November 2022 – to $32.978 billion, while imports increased by 16.5% – to $57.329 billion.
The State Statistics Committee specified that in November-2023 compared to October-2023, seasonally adjusted exports increased by 3.1% to $2.583 billion, while imports decreased by 9.5% to $4.749 billion.
The seasonally adjusted foreign trade balance in November-2023, as in the previous month, was negative at $2.166 billion compared to $2.741 billion before.
The export-import coverage ratio in January-November 2023 was 0.58 (0.83 in January-November 2022).
State Statistics specified that foreign trade operations were conducted with partners from 228 countries.
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Maksim Urakin, Founder of Experts Club, analyzes macroeconomic trends in Ukraine and world at end of 2023

In a new episode of the Experts Club YouTube channel, Maksim Urakin, PhD in Economics, presented an analysis of macroeconomic trends in Ukraine and the world based on official data from the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, the NBU, the UN, the IMF, and the World Bank.

Macroeconomic Indicators of Ukraine
Maksim Urakin cited data from Ella Libanova, Director of the Institute for Demography and Social Studies, who estimates that about 50% of citizens will return after the war.
“Demographics is an important factor for economic recovery, but the threat of depopulation and labor shortages cannot be ignored. In the medium term, the decline in the demographic growth potential in Ukraine can only be offset by migration,” Urakin emphasized.
The expert noted that the main risks to the economy remain the duration of the war and the instability of international aid.
“In the third quarter of 2023, Ukraine’s GDP growth slowed to 8.2%. The negative balance of foreign trade increased 3.2 times, which is an alarming signal. The public debt has slightly decreased compared to August figures, but in 2024 it may exceed the country’s GDP for the first time, which poses significant risks to economic stability,” the economist said.

Prospects for the Global Economy
The founder of Experts Club also analyzed the global economy, noting a slowdown in growth in 2024 to 2.2%.
“One of the key reasons for the slowdown in global economic growth is the decline in GDP in developed countries. We are witnessing the lowest GDP growth in developed countries since the 1980s, with the exception of the global financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. The unprecedented cycle of interest rate hikes by major central banks in recent years has also played a significant role in slowing growth. These rate hikes are driven by the need to control inflation, but at the same time, they limit economic activity,” the expert explains.
According to the expert, the current macroeconomic situation in Ukraine and the world requires further analysis. For Ukraine, the main challenges in the coming years will be the need to restore Ukraine after the war and manage the public debt.

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Ukraine’s external gross debt rose to 92.7% of GDP – NBU

The volume of Ukraine’s gross external debt increased by $8.8bn during the second quarter of this year and amounted to $148.6bn at the end of the half-year, according to the website of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU).
“Relative to GDP, the debt increased from 90.5% to 92.7%,” the National Bank noted.

At the same time, the external debt of the public sector for the second quarter of 2023 increased by $8.4 billion to – $84.5 billion (52.7% of GDP), while the debt of the private sector – by $0.4 billion to $64.1 billion (40% of GDP).

As indicated by the National Bank, the growth in the public sector was due to net attraction of $8.8 billion in loans from international partners, including $3.6 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), while the government debt on securities decreased by $0.12 billion.

According to the central bank, the volume of external liabilities of Ukrainian banks decreased by $0.08bn to $1.8bn (1.1% of GDP), mainly due to the reduction of debt on loans by a similar amount.
External debt of other sectors of the economy increased by $0.2bn to $41.3bn (25.8% of GDP). As explained by the regulator, this was due to the growth of external debt on guaranteed loans – by $0.14 billion and securities – by $0.05 billion.
Debt of other sectors of the economy, including intercompany debt, increased by $0.52 billion to $62.3 billion (38.9% of GDP) in the reporting quarter.

Direct intercompany debt of enterprises in direct investment relations increased by $0.28 billion to $21 billion (13.1% of GDP) in the quarter due to the increase in external debt on credits and loans of direct investors by $0.26 billion.

The NBU estimated the increase in private sector debt due to exchange rate changes at $0.4 bln.
The volume of overdue debt of the real sector on non-guaranteed loans (including from direct investors) increased by $0.13bn in April-June and amounted to $25.4bn (15.9% of GDP) at the end of the second quarter. According to the NBU, the share of Cyprus in it is 58.1%. In addition, the shares of the UK increased by 1 percentage point (p.p.), to 9.2%, and the Netherlands – by 3 p.p., to 5.8%.

According to the National Bank, Cyprus at the end of the second quarter remained the main creditor country in terms of the geographical structure of private sector debt on non-guaranteed loans (together with intercompany debt) – 49.2% of the total volume, its share since the beginning of the year increased by 0.4 p.p.

The shares of the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland increased by 0.1 pp. to 7.3%, 3.0% and 2.6% respectively, while the share of the USA remained at 3.0% and the shares of the UK and Luxembourg decreased by 0.1 pp. – to 10.7%.

The main currency of Ukraine’s external borrowings at the end of Q2 2023 remains the US dollar – 50% of total external debt, but its share decreased by 3 p.p. over the quarter. At the same time, the share of borrowings in euros increased from 31.9% to 33.8%, as well as in SDRs to the IMF – from 9.9% to 11.4%, while the share of external debt in hryvnia decreased by 0.2 p.p. to 1.6%. – to 1.6%.
The volume of short-term external debt by residual maturity for the second quarter of 2023 increased by $1.2 billion and amounted to $40.8 billion as of June 30, 2023.

Meanwhile, general government liabilities that require repayment over the next 12 months increased by $0.9 billion to $3.8 billion due to higher future government loan repayments, including $0.2 billion to the IMF, while central bank repayments decreased by $0.18 billion to $1.3 billion due to lower IMF repayments.
The volume of short-term liabilities of the banking sector remained almost at the level of the previous quarter and amounted to $1.3 bln.

The total volume of real sector borrowings (together with intercompany debt), which are to be repaid over the next 12 months, increased by $0.5bn and amounted to $34.4bn as of June 30, 2023. The National Bank specified that the growth is due to an increase in the volume of future repayments on debt securities by $0.4bn.

Experts Club research project and Maxim Urakin recently released an analytical video about the economy of Ukraine and the world.

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Maxim Urakin, founder of Experts Club, analyzed macroeconomic indicators of Ukraine and world in first half of 2023

The YouTube channel “Experts Club” has published a new video in which the founder of this think tank, Maksym Urakin, provides his analysis of Ukraine’s macroeconomic indicators and the state of the global economy in the first half of 2023.

Demographic indicators of Ukraine

Speaking about the demographic factor in the development of the Ukrainian economy, the expert cited data from the Opendatabot portal, which shows that the birth rate in the country continues to decline. According to these data, about 97 thousand children were born in the first half of 2023, which is 28% less than in the same period of 2021.

“The birth rate has been declining by about 7% annually since 2013. However, the full-scale war has aggravated the situation, causing the largest crisis in natural population growth. The demography of our country continues to be under pressure due to the current circumstances,” said Maksym Urakin.

According to him, in the first half of 2023, the number of marriages fell by 17% compared to the same period last year, while the number of divorces increased by a third, especially in Kyiv.

Economic recovery

Turning to the macroeconomic sphere, the economist emphasized that the Ukrainian economy has started to show signs of recovery.

“According to the NBU, Ukraine’s economy grew by 18.3% in the second quarter relative to the same period last year. This growth is relative to the period of the greatest decline at the beginning of the war.”, – said the founder of the club of experts.

Nevertheless, Maxim Urakin expressed concerns about the long-term outlook.

“Despite the current positive trend, the main risk for the Ukrainian economy continues to be related to the duration and intensity of the war. This may complicate the recovery, as well as cause problems with inflation and currency exchange rate,” Urakin noted.

According to him, the main negative factors affecting economic activity are a decrease or instability of international aid, as well as possible further destruction of energy infrastructure and problems with electricity supply in the fall and winter period.

Analysis of Ukraine’s foreign trade

Maxim Urakin also drew attention to the factor of growth of the negative balance of foreign trade, which has been noted since the beginning of the war.

“The country’s negative foreign trade balance continues to grow, reaching $9 billion in the first five months of this year, according to Gosstat estimates. This suggests that Ukraine is spending more currency on importing goods than it earns from exporting them. We see a sharp drop in exports of mineral products by 39.3%, ferrous and non-ferrous metals by 21.4%, wood and wood products by 17.7%, machinery products by 18.2%, chemical industry by 21.4% and other industrial goods by 4.1%,” – said the candidate of economic sciences.

However, not all the news in this sphere was pessimistic. Urakin emphasized the growth of food exports by 9.9%, which indicates the potential of the Ukrainian agro-industrial complex, which will probably become one of the main drivers of the country’s economic recovery in the coming years.

As for the balance of foreign trade in services, although still negative, the pace of its reduction gave some grounds for optimism.

“We see that the deficit of foreign trade in services is shrinking, which may indicate a gradual recovery of some service sectors in Ukraine,” the expert concluded.

Ukraine’s financial situation in 2023

However, equally important aspects of the economy, according to the expert, are government debt, international reserves and inflation.

“The country’s public debt continues to increase its volume. By the middle of 2023 he Ukraine approached the mark of 140 billion dollars. At the same time, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has adjusted its forecasts on the level of the country’s public debt, reducing it from 98.3% of GDP to 88.1% of GDP. Despite this ‘positive’ realistic revision, this level of debt represents a significant burden for the national economy,” Maxim Urakin said.

The main source of financing of Ukraine’s budget, according to the expert, is still related to foreign aid.

“Half of the budget is financed by taxes and fees, while the rest comes from international grants and loans,” he emphasized.

Nevertheless, the country’s international reserves have shown positive dynamics.

“By August this year, Ukraine’s international reserves reached a record $41.72bn, which is 6.9% higher than the previous record. This increase is probably the result of active external financial support,” the analyst said.

As for inflation, it showed a slowdown. “After a record 27% inflation in 2022, this indicator fell to close to 4% in July this year,” Urakin noted.

Thus, the economic situation in Ukraine, according to the founder of the “Experts Club”, continues to be complex and multifaceted, requiring careful monitoring and adaptation of strategies in response to changing conditions.

World economy in 2023: analysis and forecasts

In the last presented studies of the “Experts Club” the economic situation in Ukraine was actively considered, however, according to Maxim Urakin, the dynamics of the world economy also has a significant impact on our country. According to the latest data, the world economy shows stable signs of growth, but there are also certain risks.

“The IMF has recently provided its forecasts for global economic growth. A growth of 3% is forecast for 2023 and the same is expected in 2024. The decisions taken by the US to resolve issues related to the level of public debt, as well as active actions in the US and Swiss banking sectors, have helped to reduce the immediate risks of a crisis in the global financial market. However, as the IMF emphasized, “the balance of risks remains tilted towards a possible deterioration of the economic situation at the global level,” the economist explained.

Inflation continues to be in the center of experts’ attention. Although the IMF lowered its inflation forecast for the current year to 6.8%, expectations for 2024 were adjusted upward.

Based on this information, Maxim Urakin concludes that the global economy is on the way to stabilization, but the situation remains ambiguous due to a number of uncertain factors. It is important for countries and their economies interacting in the global market to monitor changes and prepare for possible challenges.

Economic development in individual countries

According to the founder of the “Experts Club”, the global economy in 2023 is showing mixed results. While some countries are overcoming the effects of the pandemic and are on the path to stable growth, others are facing challenges from internal and external factors.

“The U.S. economy exceeded expectations, posting above-forecast growth. Meanwhile, consumer spending and government spending also showed solid growth, but residential investment continues to decline. China, which is on the road to recovery from the pandemic, showed strong economic growth, although the construction industry continues to experience a crisis. The Eurozone has shown moderate growth, with the region’s largest economy, Germany, facing recession. At the same time, the UK and Japan have positive adjustments to their GDP forecasts. India continues to strengthen its economic position, showing dynamic growth. Meanwhile, Brazil, although showing growth in the current year, expects a decline by 2024,” summarized the expert.

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Key macroeconomic indicators of Ukraine in May-June 2023 from Club of Experts

The article summarizes and analyzes the main macroeconomic indicators of Ukraine. In connection with the entry into force of the Law of Ukraine “On Protection of the Interests of Business Entities during Martial Law or a State of War”, the State Statistics Service of Ukraine suspends the publication of statistical information for the period of martial law, as well as for three months after its termination. The exception is the publication of information on the consumer price index, separate information on statistical indicators for 2021 and for the period January-February 2022. The article analyzes open data from the State Statistics Service, the National Bank, and think tanks.
In the first quarter of 2023, Ukraine’s real GDP fell by 10.5% compared to the first quarter of 2022, after falling by 31.4% in the fourth quarter, 30.6% in the third quarter, 36.9% in the second quarter, and 14.9% in the first quarter of last year.
Overall, analysts expect modest GDP growth in Ukraine in 2023. Thus, the World Bank slightly downgraded its forecast for Ukraine’s gross domestic product growth in 2023 to 2% from 3.3%, which it predicted in January 2023. Raiffeisen Bank maintained its forecast of 1.8% growth in Ukraine’s gross domestic product for 2023.
Maksym Urakin, founder of the Kyiv-based think tank Club of Experts, drew attention to key macroeconomic indicators. “Ukraine’s macroeconomic indicators have stabilized, and international reserves due to borrowings are breaking records, but Ukraine’s negative foreign trade balance is having a negative impact on the economy,” said Maksim Urakin.
Inflation in Ukraine will decline to 15.5% in 2023, and real incomes will increase by 1%, according to the updated improved forecast released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) following the first review of the EFF Extended Fund Facility program.
Ukraine’s total public debt grew by 3.6% and reached a new historical high: in dollar terms, by $4.37 billion to $124.28 billion, and in hryvnia terms, by UAH 159.9 billion to UAH 4 trillion 544.9 billion, according to the Ministry of Finance website.
At the same time, Ukraine’s international reserves as of June 1, 2023, according to preliminary data, amounted to $37 billion 311.3 million, up 4% or $1.358 billion in May, and have updated an 11-year high, the National Bank reported.
Consumer price growth in Ukraine in May 2023 accelerated to 0.5% from 0.2% in April after slowing from 1.5% in March, 0.7% in February and 0.8% in January.
In January-April 2023, Ukraine reduced electricity production by 19.4% (by 8.8 billion kWh) compared to the same period in 2022, to 36.5 billion kWh.

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