The Financial Stress Index (FSI) in April fell and reached 0.2 points by the end of the month after a bounce to 0.3 in March, the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) said in a weekly bank survey posted on its website on Wednesday.
According to the document, corporate and banking sub-indices are declining, and the latter, in particular, due to a drop in the yield of securities.
The National Bank said that at the end of April the outflow of hryvnia-pegged time deposits and foreign currency funds of the population stopped. The regulator added that the hryvnia funds of Ukrainians have been at maximum levels for the second week since the beginning of March, and only foreign currency time deposits of the population are still declining.
According to the report based on the data from 22 largest banks, from April 27 through April 30, the hryvnia funds of individuals maintained stable growth of 0.3%, and that of business entities of 0.9%. Foreign currency funds of individuals for the same period increased by 0.2%, and business entities’ decreased by 0.1%, compared with the previous week.
The regulator said that the portfolio of foreign currency loans issued to small and medium-sized enterprises in April markedly worsened, in particular, from the beginning of April, the share of hryvnia loans overdue over a week in the portfolios of banks increased from 25.8% to 30.9%, and foreign currency loans – from 30.7% up to 38.3%.
The National Bank also said that at the beginning of May the share of working bank branches increased from 75.5% to 77.3%, and that of ATMs – from 95.8% to 96.3%.
The National Bank of Ukraine bought $430 million in the market over the past five working days, the hryvnia exchange rate has strengthened from more than UAH 28/$1 to UAH 27.15/$1, NBU Deputy Governor Dmytro Sologub has said. “Only in the last five working days, the National Bank bought $430 million for reserves,” he said in an online interview with Ukrayinska Pravda.
Sologub emphasized that the policy of the National Bank remains unchanged.
“There are fluctuations, we are smoothing them in both directions,” he said.
As reported, over the past week, the NBU bought $ 248 million on the interbank currency
The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) on April 1 transferred all the planned UAH 42.7 billion in profit for 2019 to the national budget, according to the regulator’s Facebook page.
“This year, in agreement with the Ministry of Finance, it was decided to transfer the entire amount of the National Bank’s profit to the state budget,” the report says.
It is clarified that in this way the regulator helps the government in overcoming the epidemic in the country.
As reported, state budget revenues in March 2020 amounted to UAH 87.8 billion, which is 10.4% less than the plan and 2.6% more than in March 2019. In addition, the general fund of the state budget received UAH 78.4 billion, which is 10.3% less than the planned figure.
Ukraine has all chances to sign a new financial agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), but it is the Verkhovna Rada is to do the final step, First Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Kateryna Rozhkova has said.
“Ukraine as a state today continues negotiating on attracting IMF assistance… The chances are great, but the last step is ours, in fact, it is the Verkhovna Rada, which must adopt two bills, which are the so-called prior actions. This is the land bill and the bill about banks,” Rozhkova said during a press briefing on Friday.
She also said that the IMF is ready to increase the scope of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) compared with the previously agreed $5.5 billion.
“We are optimists. If the EFF is approved, Ukraine will be able to go through difficult times to combat the virus,” Deputy Governor of the central bank Oleh Churiy said.
The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) in addition to conventional short-term tools of refinancing of banks is introducing long-term refinancing for the period of up to five years, the NBU said on Wednesday. “This step is aimed at meeting several goals at once, related both to maintaining financial stability in the country and stimulating economic growth,” the regulator said.
According to its calculations, the long-term refinancing mechanism will support hryvnia bank lending, enhancing the effect of other measures taken by the National Bank over the past months: lowering the refinancing rate and introducing incentive reserve standards.
“Secondly, the new instrument will serve as an additional guarantee of maintaining sufficient liquidity in the banking system. This, in particular, is also important for the smooth conduct of client operations in the face of deteriorating market sentiment due to the spread of the coronavirus disease COVID-19,” the NBU said.
According to the report, the frequency of tenders to maintain bank liquidity, volumes, terms and other parameters of long-term refinancing will be determined by individual decisions of the Board of the National Bank after consideration of these issues by its Monetary Policy Committee.
The interest rate on long-term refinancing loans will be floating as the NBU refinancing rate, which can be changed in accordance with the decisions of the board, along with a constant value in percentage points, which is valid on the day the loan is issued and will remain unchanged for the entire period of use.
If necessary, banks will be able to repay such loans ahead of schedule at any time.
In order to reduce risks in the provision of refinancing loans, the NBU also improved the standards for collateral instruments, the central bank said. In particular, it is possible to directly transfer the bank’s funds from the repayment of the National Bank’s deposit certificates and income on them to partial early repayment of debt, if the certificates are included in the collateral pool. It is also determined that a foreign currency in such a pool should be placed by the bank on NBU accounts as a cash cover without paying interest on it.
“Thus, favorable conditions are created for the development of long-term lending to entrepreneurs and the population, in particular mortgages, loans for business development and others. At the same time, banks will be able to apply for long-term refinancing in situations where they will need additional liquidity,” the regulator said.
At the same time, the NBU said that today, the hryvnia liquidity of the banking system exceeds UAH 200 billion, the currency liquidity is $8 billion, so the introduction of a new tool is more likely to be preventive in the event of a more serious crisis in the global economy.
The central bank said the introduction of a long-term refinancing mechanism was approved by the NBU Board decision No. 29 issued on March 17 amending the regulation on the interest policy of the NBU and decision No. 30 approving changes to the regulation on the application of standard instruments for regulation of the liquidity of the banking system by the NBU. These changes entered into force on March 19, 2020.
The refinancing rate could be reduced to 8% per annum faster than the central bank previously forecasted if a favorable macroeconomic situation is retained, Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Yakiv Smolii has stated. “This year, if the macroeconomic situation does not change dramatically, the refinancing rate could be 8%. We previously planned to lower it to such a level in 2021. But now we see prerequisites for the more rapid easing of monetary policy,” Smolii said in an interview on YouTube channel KRYM.
According to him, this year businesses could expect loan rates at the level of 10-12% per annum in hryvnias.
As reported, from December 13, 2019 the NBU lowered the refinancing rate to 13.5% per annum from 15.5% per annum.