Ukraine international reserves up 5.8% m/m in November

Ukraine international reserves up 5.8% m/m in November
Ukraine hard currency reserves up to $17.7bn on the back of a $2bn Eurobond issue
By bne IntelliNews December 7, 2018

Ukraine's international reserves increased by $974mn, or 5.8% to $17.711bn in November, mainly on the back of a $2bn placement, according to preliminary a statement published by the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) on December 5.

Kyiv also was able to beef up its international reserves in November via the sale of domestic government bonds for $82.9mn.

At the same time, public debt payments were lower than the revenues from the sale of government securities, the central bank added.

Specifically, the government conducted an early redemption of $725mn in short-term Eurobonds in November, which was raised through a private placement in August. Additionally, the government and the National Bank of Ukraine paid the equivalent of a total of $439.1mn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last month.

Other government payments to service and repay public debt denominated in foreign currency amounted to the equivalent of $238.2mn, including $149.1mn on domestic government bonds and $18.5mn on Eurobonds.

The NBU’s net FX purchases in the interbank market increased the reserves by $232.8mn in November.

At the top of that, the value of financial instruments increased by $50.4mn (as a result of changes in the market value, and in the hryvnia exchange rate to foreign currencies), affecting the amount of the international reserves, the NBU said in the statement.

As of early December, the international reserves covered 3 months of Ukraine's imports and "were sufficient for Ukraine to meet its obligations and for the government and the NBU to conduct their current transactions", the central bank added.

In late November, the IMF said that the Ukrainian authorities should "complete all prior actions" over a new $3.9bn Stand By Agreement (SBA).

All prior actions are expected to be completed by the Ukrainian authorities by December 10, and a meeting of the Executive Board to discuss the SBA would be convened promptly after that, the IMF's Managing Director Christine said in a statement.

The statement followed the adoption of the national budget for 2019 by Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada. The document was with the deficit within 2.3% of the nation's GDP. The approval of the budget compliant with the IMF is crucially important for Kyiv's cooperation with the donor.

Among other conditions for possible repackaging of undrawn funds from the existing $17.5bn Extended Fund Facility (EFF) agreed in 2015 into a $5bn-$6bn SBA are the increase the gas price for households, as well as the implementation of anti-corruption measures. Ukraine has received $8.4bn from the IMF so far under the multinational lender's EFF.