Business news from Ukraine

UKRAINE EXPECTS RATIFICATION OF FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH ISRAELI KNESSET AFTER ELECTIONS ON SEPT 17

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has said Ukraine is awaiting ratification of the free trade agreement (FTA) by the new Knesset after the elections on September 17. “We expect the ratification of the free trade agreement by the new Knesset after the September 17 elections. This will allow increasing the volume of trade between our countries,” Zelensky wrote on his Facebook page on Monday evening following a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The president also noted that Ukraine and Israel had signed four important documents that will expand contacts between the countries in education, culture and sports. In addition, close cooperation in the agricultural sector is expected.
“I invited Israeli companies to come to work in Ukraine: to build roads and infrastructure, invest in medicine, education, energy saving and, of course, in IT. In the next five years we will grow rapidly, so Ukraine today is the most attractive place for strategic investors,” Zelensky said.

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PARTY OF JULIA TYMOSHENKO GETS THIRD PLACE IN ELECTIONS AFTER 93% OF PROTOCOLS PROCESSED

According to the results of 92.97% of electronic protocols processed, the Servant of the People Party (43.13% of the vote), the Opposition Platform – For Life – 13.05%, Batkivschyna – 8.19%, European Solidarity – 8.14%, and Holos – 5.86% enter the Verkhovna Rada.
According to the CEC website, the 5% barrier to the parliament is not yet overcome by the Radical Party with 4.01% of the vote, Strength and Honor Party, which gains 3.8% of the votes in Ukraine as a whole, the Opposition Bloc – 3.06%, and Groysman’s Ukrainian Strategy Party with 2.32% of the vote.
The Sharij Party has gained 2.24% of the vote, Svoboda – 2.17%, and Civil Position – 1.05%.
Parties that have received less than 1% of the vote are the Party of Greens of Ukraine (0.65% of the vote), Samopomich (0.63%), and the Agrarian Party of Ukraine (0.51%).
The other parties got less than 0.5% of the vote.
The exit poll was conducted on July 21 by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) and the Ukrainian Center for Economic and Political Studies named after Oleksandr Razumkov.

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YULIA TYMOSHENKO WANTS TO FORM COALITION AFTER ELECTIONS

Batkivschyna leader Yulia Tymoshenko has said “a coalition of actions” should be created in the new parliament, and a coalition agreement should be based on the New Course program developed by her party. She said it is a clear plan for saving Ukraine.
“We proposed to create a coalition of actions and stop talking about reforms and dreams. We must make the New Course program the basis for a coalition of actions. This is the program that we have and which provides a timetable. There are certain indicators showing what we will achieve, for example, 7% economic growth per year. No party has such a professional comprehensive plan for Ukraine,” Tymoshenko said during an interview broadcast by the NewsOne TV on Thursday evening.
Tymoshenko said it is important not to waste time.
“We need to quickly get to work. There are many statements, conversations, memoranda, but this is white noise. We must act and give people results,” she said, adding that if the program is implemented successfully Ukrainians will live like Polish people do in five years.
“We have set ourselves such a task. And we will have at least 7% of economic growth per year,” she said.
Tymoshenko said the Servant of the People, the Batkivschyna and Holos party parliament factions would form a coalition in the new parliament.
“Our experience and knowledge of how to act daily to save the country […] will help the president’s team,” she said.

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MOST FINANCIAL EXPERTS EXPECT NO CHANGE IN SPEED IN REFORMS AFTER ELECTIONS – EXPRESS POLL BY CFA SOCIETY UKRAINE

It is unlikely that the presidential and parliamentary elections to be held this year would affect the speed of the implementation of reforms in Ukraine, according to most participants of the CFA Society Ukraine Investment Forum held in Kyiv on Friday, March 15.
According to its express poll, 58.33% of the audience backed the above opinion and 62.944% confirmed it during the repeated voting after the information panel.
However, 15.74% and 21.68% of the participants during the repeated voting said that the reforms would accelerate. Some 17.59% (11.91%) and 8.33% (4.2%) respectively expected that the reform would slow down and would be backtracked.
According to Economist of Morgan Stanley investment bank Alina Sliusarchuk, judicial reform is currently the key reform for Ukraine.
“The first question that investors usually ask me is not about the labor market or even about the war in the east of the country. It concerns the fight against corruption, judicial reform, the presence of structural changes. That is, this is the most important issue,” she said at the forum.
Chief Economist at the Dragon Capital investment group Olena Belan said that the intentions and aspirations of the new authorities would very quickly manifest themselves in the macroeconomic situation.
“Regardless of who will be elected, if the new government continues cooperating with the International Monetary Fund, adhering to the correct policy, rather than making populist decisions, there is a potential for reducing the key policy rate by 2 or 3 percentage points,” she said.
Executive Director of Blazer International Foundation Oleh Ustenko has the same opinion. He said that the success of the new government will directly depend on whether they are based on expert opinion.
“I am sure that in Ukraine the situation will really improve if each of the existing candidates who intends to lead the country will follow the instructions prepared by the experts. Of course, the person who is elected to this position is important, but society and international partners are unlikely to allow future head of state to significantly deviate from the course of reform,” he said.
About 300 financial and investment experts took part in the ninth CFA Society Ukraine Investment Forum.

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PRICES OF RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY WILL GROW BY 20% AFTER ELECTIONS

Prices of residential property could grow by up to 20% after elections in 2019, according to the Confederation of Builders of Ukraine.
“The situation of 2018 will partially continue in 2019. Property prices in Ukraine will gradually increase. At the beginning of the year, there will not be a sharp increase in prices, but after the elections, the price of residential property would rise by up to 20%,” the confederation said in a press release.
In the opinion of the confederation, prices in 2019 will be affected by high supply and low demand, an increase in interest rates on loans, a rise in wages, prices for building materials, logistics, and fuel. At the same time, the demand of buyers will be stimulated by a competent project concept, quality of construction, and pricing policy.
The confederation also plans together with the Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Utilities Economy Ministry to review a number of national construction standards, as well as to complete the discussion of bills on the protection of investors who are victims of frauds on the market and on long-delayed construction projects.
According to the press release, in 2019, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) expects growth in the lending pace on the real estate market. At the same time, the rate of lending to the population increased by 40% in 2018, the confederation reported with reference to the NBU.
According to the confederation, in the current year, the elite class housing became cheaper – the average price of one square meter in Kyiv in 2018 amounted to UAH 53,000, which is 13% lower than in 2017; at the same time, economy class housing has risen in price by almost 14% compared with 2017, to UAH 19,000 per square meter.

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U.S., EU EXPERTS GIVE RECOMMENDATIONS TO PREPARE FOR 2019 ELECTIONS IN UKRAINE

The delegation of the National Democratic Institute (U.S.) and deputies of the European Parliament have prepared 51 recommendations to get ready for the 2019 elections in Ukraine, in particular, they recommended Facebook opening an office in Kyiv, regional director of programs of the Eurasian region at the National Democratic Institute Laura Jewett has said.
Facebook should open an office in Ukraine and, together with other digital platforms, unite to fight disinformation … If we are talking about fighting Kremlin interference to ensure stability in the country, then social networks and digital platforms should help Ukraine in these aspirations. All candidates must have equal access to the media. You also need to combat with the negative impact of misinformation. It is necessary to make efforts to combat manifestations of political corruption, including falsification, and to monitor the financing of parties, she said at a press conference in Kyiv on Saturday.
According to Jewett, it is also necessary to adhere to the equal gender representation of women and men.
Candidates’ campaigns should rest on constructive proposals, be aimed at unification, and the media should note that this is political advertising, not information, she explained.
In turn, MEP Dariusz Rosati noted the intensification of misinformation in Ukraine.
Our recommendations are aimed at encouraging the Ukrainian authorities to adopt key reforms in the electoral legislation and beyond, which will help ensure that the elections are fair and transparent, he explained.
MEP Rebecca Harms clarified that the need to introduce a proportional electoral system instead of a mixed one had been discussed at a meeting with Ukrainian Parliament Speaker Andriy Parubiy.
After the meeting with the CEC (Central Electoral Commission) we recommended the parliament include internally displaced persons and labor migrants in the electoral process, she added.
In addition, the delegation recommended that resources be provided to the CEC for updating technical tools to combat cyber attacks.

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