The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has decided from October 25 to lower the refinancing rate to 15.5% per annum from 16.5% per annum, at which it has been since September 6 of this year.
“The National Bank continues the cycle of easing monetary policy, as it expects inflation to slow to the target of 5%,” the central bank said on Thursday.
The NBU Board said that the basis of this stable trend is the gradual weakening of fundamental pressure on prices, the sign of which is the rapid slowdown in underlying inflation.
“Tight monetary policy has become one of the reasons for the strengthening of the exchange rate and improvement of inflation expectations. This influences prices significantly and exceeds the influence of factors that, on the contrary, push prices upward, in particular, the effect of still stable consumer demand,” the regulator said.
According to its forecasts, inflation this year will drop to 6.3%, and next year it will fall into the target range and reach medium-term 5% at the end of 2020.
“As before, the sharpest decrease in the refinancing rate is expected during 2020 along with the return of inflation to the target range and the improvement of inflation expectations,” the NBU said.
An expert survey, titled “100 days of President Volodymyr Zelensky,” conducted from August 19 to August 26 by Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation Fund was presented in Kyiv on Wednesday. Some 51 experts were included in the study. They said Zelensky’s main success in the first 100 days was the dissolution of the parliament and the further success of the Servant of the People Party in early parliamentary elections, which allowed the formation of a one-party majority.
Experts also noted the president’s foreign policy efforts: first foreign trips, establishing contacts with leaders of the EU countries, Canada, a planned meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.
Among the successes, Zelensky’s initiatives on the peace process in Donbas are also mentioned, along with activation of the Minsk process, efforts to conduct negotiations in the “Normandy format,” the issue of prisoner exchange.
To the president’s failures, experts attribute individual staff appointments and appointments to government posts on the basis of personal acquaintance and loyalty, rather than professionalism. The same applies to the inclusion of people with an ambiguous reputation in the Servant of the People Party list.
Experts also note foreign policy failures – in particular, the lack of efforts to counteract the return of Russia to Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the lack of initiative to tighten sanctions against Russia for not fulfilling the decision to release Ukrainian sailors and issuing passports in occupied Donbas.
Zelensky’s style of behavior during public meetings in the regions and the ineffectiveness of the ceasefire in Donbas was already regarded as a failure.
Experts believe that Zelensky’s main task is to confront Russian aggression by all diplomatic methods, including strengthening sanctions against Russia, preserving the “anti-Putin” coalition for the liberation of Donbas and Crimea, as well as Ukrainian political prisoners and captives.
For comparison, experts gave President Petro Poroshenko 6.3 points for his first 100 days, with his predecessor Viktor Yanukovych receiving 2.7 points. Yanukovych fled to Russia in early 2014.