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Source Comment
May 23, 2018
ICU Bond Market Insight -- MoF increases FX-denominated borrowings
In response to low demand for local currency bonds, the MoF amended the auction schedule to offer FX-denominated bonds at higher interest rates. 
May 22, 2018
ICU Weekly Insight -- IMF requirements may be met soon
The Verkhovna Rada's consideration of the law on the Anticorruption Court in the second reading may begin this week and be successfully completed in June. It is also possible to reach a compromise on gas tariffs.
May 16, 2018
ICU Bond Market Insight -- Non-competitive demand share increases
Accepting 82% of demand and leaving the cut-off rates unchanged for most bonds, the MoF rejected only three (at higher rates) out of 22 bids at yesterday's auction. Total demand of UAH413m was equally divided among the offerings, the largest being for the 2-year bond. 
May 15, 2018
ICU Weekly Insight -- Headline inflation at 13.1% YoY in April
Headline inflation slowed to 0.8% MoM in April, down from 1.1% MoM in March, while in YoY terms, it remained almost unchanged at 13.1%. Consumer prices will remain under pressure from high consumer demand, rising oil prices, inflationary expectations and expansionary fiscal policy.
May 10, 2018
ICU Bond Market Insight -- MoF keeps yield curve steady
This Tuesday's auction, 3-month and 3-year bonds provided nearly 70% of the UAH1bn of budget proceeds.
May 08, 2018
ICU Weekly Insight -- Official FX reserves rose 1.3% MoM
Ukraine's official FX reserves rose by US$229m or 1.3% MoM, and amounted to US$18.4bn as of 1 May 2018. We expect that official FX reserves will rise to US$20bn by the end of 2018 thanks to the next tranche from the IMF and Ukraine's placement of Eurobonds. 
May 03, 2018
ICU Weekly Insight -- Public debt fell 0.7% MoM in March
The total amount of public and publicly guaranteed debt of Ukraine fell 0.7% MoM or UAH15.2bn, and amounted to UAH2.05tn (66% of GDP) in March. Thanks to further GDP growth and a sustained primary budget surplus, the public debt level will end up below the 70% of GDP threshold by December 2018.
April 26, 2018
ICU Bond Market Insight -- MoF refinances almost 90% of principal
Tuesday's auction proceeds of UAH3.7bn, including UAH2.7bn from euro-denominated bonds, allowed the MoF to refinance almost 70% of UAH5.4bn in total debt repayments. UAH5.2bn of these repayments were denominated in local currency, including UAH4.3bn of principal repayments.
April 24, 2018
ICU Weekly Insight -- NBU estimates real GDP at +2.3% YoY in 1Q18
Economic growth accelerated to 2.3% YoY in 1Q18, up from 2.2% YoY in 4Q17, per data from the NBU. In QoQ terms growth remained at 0.6% QoQ SA (ICU's estimate as implied by NBU's 1Q18 year-on-year estimation). Solid consumer demand and high fixed investment will continue to push up real GDP growth.
April 18, 2018
ICU Bond Market Insight -- Slight increase in rates
Yesterday, the MoF sold UAH500m each of 3-month and 6-month bonds at slightly higher rates. The MoF refinanced less than half of the principal repayments scheduled for this week. 
April 17, 2018
ICU Weekly Insight -- NBU kept key policy rate at 17%
The central bank believes that the current monetary policy is tight enough to bring inflation back to its target by mid-2019. Due to high inflationary risk, monetary policy will continue to be tight in 2018.
April 12, 2018
ICU Bond Market Insight -- Demand remains low
This week, primary auction demand hit below UAH500m (par value). After rejecting some bids, the state budget received only UAH455.1m. The MoF changed interest rates just by a few basis points.
April 11, 2018
ICU Weekly Insight -- Official FX reserves down on debt repayment
Ukraine's official FX reserves declined by US$219m or 1.2% MoM, and amounted to US$18.2bn as of 1 April 2018. Despite recent decrease, we expect that official FX reserves will rise to US$20bn by the end of 2018. 
April 04, 2018
ICU Bond Market Insight -- Debt burden in July increases
The MoF offered only the 3-month bond maturing on 4 July yesterday, selling UAH184.3m at an unchanged rate. July is known to be one of the most difficult months of the year to refinance debt.
April 03, 2018
ICU Weekly Insight -- Annualized C/A deficit up
Annualized C/A deficit declined 6.3% MoM to US$2.1bn, but surged 3.4 times compared with February 2017, per revised data from the NBU. The C/A deficit is to widen further this year due to rising imports of consumer goods, higher oil prices and an expected decrease in steel prices.
March 27, 2018
ICU Weekly Insight -- Real GDP growth accelerates in 2017
Ukraine's real GDP exceeded the preliminary estimate of 2.2% growth and accelerated to 2.5% in full-year 2017, up from revised 2.4% in 2016.
March 21, 2018
ICU Bond Market Insight -- MoF increases borrowings
At yesterday's primary auction, the MoF offered an unscheduled EURO-denominated bond in place of a 12-month local currency bond offering. With budget proceeds UAH6.37bn, including EUR123.3m, the MoF saw increased demand for local currency bonds.
March 20, 2018
ICU Weekly Insight -- NBU kept the hryvnia from further appreciation
Early last week, the regulator twice entered the market to buy foreign currency, which kept the UAH from further appreciation. We expect short-term depreciation of the national currency in the near future, but the overall trend is for appreciation by mid-year.
March 14, 2018
ICU Bond Market Insight -- Yield curve mostly unchanged
Again concentrated on 3-month bonds, with the cut-off rate last week increased to 17.50%, demand was at the highest level of the yield curve at yesterday's primary auction. Most budget proceeds came from 12-month and 2-year maturities.
March 13, 2018
ICU Weekly Insight -- Key policy rate pushes bond yields up
Primary bond market yield curve mostly flat at around the key policy rate; could rise further. 
March 07, 2018
ICU Weekly Insight -- NBU raises the key policy rate to 17%
The reason for the fourth consecutive increase is higher-than-expected inflation in January, as well as the absence of significant signs of weakening of inflationary risks. High inflation in the following months may result in a further interest rate hike. 
February 28, 2018
ICU Bond Market Insight -- Proceeds down
Despite UAH5.6bn of debt repayments scheduled for today, including UAH1.0bn to the NBU, demand at yesterday's primary auction was low, slightly above UAH1.5bn. As expected, bondholders scheduled to receive today's payments mostly postponed purchases of new bonds in anticipation of the NBU's key policy rate decision tomorrow. The budget will receive only UAH0.99bn, nearly UAH0.19bn less than a week ago. 
February 21, 2018
ICU Bond Market Insight -- Rates remain stable
Compared with last week's auction dominated by 3-month bond rates, this week's auction had low demand of just UAH1.42bn (par value), of which the MoF satisfied 86% to receive UAH1.18bn of budget proceeds. It appears that non-resident participation was smaller than before and there was lower competition between bidders. While last week's 3-month and 6-month bond rates were at 15.89%, yesterday the lowest rate for the 3-month bond was 16.00% and the for 6-month, 16.23%.
February 14, 2018
ICU Bond Market Insight -- Interest rates and volumes decline
Demand was down threefold yesterday to UAH2.16bn and interest rates for some bonds declined significantly, enabling the MoF to satisfy nearly 70% of demand and receive UAH1.47bn of proceeds. With demand concentrated at the shortest 3-month and 6-month maturities, providing a majority of the budget proceeds, only UAH500m of each maturity was offered.
February 09, 2018
ICU Quarterly Report-Debt deflation Я Us
Below is a brief, broad overview of Ukraine's economy as of year-end 2017, and our rationale for the base-case economic projections for 2018-2020. Economic growth accelerates, but still is under restraint of ongoing debt deflation. Over the course of 2017, Ukraine's GDP growth has gradually decelerated, and we estimate it come in at 2.0% for the whole year. Strong consumer demand, higher fixed asset investment, and stable government consumption were the main driving forces, and they countervailed the negative impact of foreign trade. In 2018, thanks to a better external environment, our projection is now in line with consensus, which is for a +3% real GDP increase for 2018, followed by weak growth of +1.9% in 2019. We argue that Ukraine's economic recovery is restrained by a process of ongoing debt deflation, where sizable defaults are due to past outsized FX lending. Foreign trade: world commodity markets are changing to less favourable, as we expect oil price growth to accelerate to 17% YoY, while steel and iron ore prices to decline 8-16% YoY in 2018. This puts additional pressure on Ukraine's trade balance, as oil and gas energy resources account for about 25% of Ukraine's imports, while metals and ores still comprise ~30% of Ukraine's exports. Ukraine has already started increasing its energy independence and growing export potential this year, but faces likely shortfalls and delays. We see Ukraine's trade deficit to widen 11% to $7bn in 2018, with significant upside risks. Sovereign debt: government supply of yield-earning assets widens. For 2018 main debt burden for state budget is amounted to about US$10.4bn, mostly denominated in FX, including US$3.21bn in domestic debt denominated in FX. So, 2018 will be one of decisions on how to navigate the peak in external debt repayments scheduled for 2019-2020, which amount to around US$4.5bn each year. The MoF will try to increase its market presence this year, and will make attempts to issue new Eurobonds or tap UKRAIN 7.375% '32, which was issued in September 2017. Bank lending: competition for solvent borrowers is heightening. Long-awaited bank lending started to spring out. In 2017, retail loans, mainly credit card and auto loans, demonstrated 30% YoY growth driven by low comparison base and better consumer expectations. This segment will remain the most vibrant alongside the SME lending, as more banks turn into that niche. Mortgages are yet to pick up but we do not expect this to happen until the inflation abates. Corporate lending is growing due to the short-term loans issued by banks with European capital. NPL remain extremely high 54.9%, mainly due to Privatbank's loan portfolio shenanigans and dubious "administrative" lending from state banks. The Ukrainian parliament is about to fully address NPLs problem with a respective new law. External macroeconomic and financial markets environment appears supportive of Ukraine's economy for now and for the next 12-month period. Despite the fact that the US Fed appears committed to a series of steady interest rate increases, the US dollar has been weakening since early 2017. This trend is projected to extend well into 2018. UAH's adjustment will take place gradually over 2018. We reiterate our forecast of hryvnia depreciating gradually from average 26.66/USD in 2017 to 28.5/USD in 2018. The key factors influencing hryvnia's soft depreciation are still mostly favourable external financial markets, defensive tactics of Ukrainian authorities in the monetary sphere during the pre-election year, and hryvnia being overvalued according to the real TWI-implied rates.
ICU Daily Insight -- Budget absorbs funds from bond sales
Despite its decline against the US dollar at the beginning of the trading on Thursday because of NBU FX transactions, following a UAH4.2bn decrease in liquidity, the hryvnia recovered at the end of the day to close at 27.1240 UAH/USD. It sold for 27.09 UAH/USD versus 27.32 to buy at the Ukrainian cash market. Its CPI-based real trade-weighted index rose 0.42% to 109.85; in year-on-year terms, it is up 2.19% from 107.5 last year.
February 08, 2018
ICU Daily Insight -- UAH continues to strengthen
The hryvnia appreciated another 1.3% to 27.1196 UAH/USD, hitting a two-month high. Up 2.8% in nominal terms since the beginning of the week, Tuesday's auction with higher interest rates that attracted non-resident investors appears to be the catalyst. The NBU also purchased about US$200bn (see comment on liquidity). In the local market, the hryvnia sold for 27.36 UAH/USD versus 27.59 to buy at the Ukrainian cash market. Its CPI-based real trade-weighted index rose 1.84% to 109.38; in year-on-year terms, it is up 1.73% from 107.52 last year. 
February 07, 2018
ICU Bond Market Insight -- Proceeds up, cut-off rates steady
Yesterday, although the MoF rejected bids for 2-year and 3-year bonds because of high interest rates, it borrowed UAH5.24bn, a significant UAH1.61bn more than it did last week, in local currency bonds.The cut-off rates for bonds with maturities up to one year remained unchanged.
ICU Daily Insight -- MoF borrows UAH5.24bn from new bonds
Yesterday, the MoF sold UAH5.24bn in bonds with maturities up to one year while it rejected high rate bids and low demand for 2-year and 3-year bonds. Accepting nearly 85% of demand, the 3-month and 6-month bonds attracted the most demand, exceeding UAH2bn for each bond, while the 9-month drew UAH1.07bn and the 1-year had only UAH0.19bn. 2-year and 3-year bonds received demand of UAH0.10bn and UAH0.23bn, respectively. 
February 06, 2018
ICU Daily Insight -- Liquidity near year's low
Last Friday, liquidity declined UAH1.73bn to UAH96.26bn, or just UAH0.12bn above this year's low seen at the end of January, because of UAH0.83bn of non-monetary operation outflows, including UAH0.61bn in cash and UAH0.22bn to Treasury accounts. Also one bank repaid a UAH1.20bn ON loan and purchased a new one at UAH0.30bn.
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