Ukraine's debt restructuring won't solve its problems, warns Moody's

By bne IntelliNews April 16, 2015

Ukraine's international funding problems will not be solved even if the government succeeds in restructuring $15.3bn of private foreign-held debt, according to the rating agency Moody's.

Ukraine's international private creditors are likely to resist taking any large losses on bonds and loans, the agency said in a new analysis released on April 16. Even if plans succeed, the planned restructuring of Ukraine's Eurobond will qualify as a distressed exchange, which is a default by Moody's definition.

"Ukraine's liquidity position will likely remain severely constrained in the coming years because of the country's structural current account deficit and weak foreign reserve assets," the authors of the analysis wrote. Moreover, "the government's budget will be stretched by the deep economic contraction and the ongoing costs of the military conflict against pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country".

According to the agency, Ukraine's forex reserves still remain low at around $10bn, providing only two months import cover, although this constitutes a doubling of reserves following receipt of the first $5bn tranche of a $17.5bn IMF bailout package.

Moody's forecasts total government debt-to-GDP ratio will increase to 82% in 2015 from 70% in 2014, because the economy is facing ongoing contraction, with very high inflation hitting domestic demand this year. The state-owned energy company Naftogaz Ukrainy will continue to drain the budget for at least two more years before it is possible to put the company on an even keel, the analysis added.

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