Friday, March 6, 2015

Ukraine businesses battered by conflict, poor economy - Anadolu Agency

'Practically every business of every kind is suffering,' Kiev businessmen tell The Anadolu Agency

By Andrew Jay Rosenbaum


Businessmen in Kiev say it's becoming tougher to make a living in Ukraine amid the country's economic strife and ongoing conflict in the east.

Maksym Gapchuk, the chief financial officer at an Austrian insurance group in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, told The Anadolu Agency: "Practically every business, of every kind, is suffering.

"Every business is affected by the devalued hryvnia, and also by the overall decline in demand."

“Overall, businesses are losing money, and there seems to be no end to losses," complained Sergiy Shchukin, who runs a leisure and travel business in the city.

And they are not alone.

- Bank protest

About 30 people demonstrated outside the National Bank of Ukraine's headquarters on Instytutska Street on Feb. 13 in protest against the devaluation of the hryvnia as the currency reached an all-time low of 26 against the U.S. dollar.

Gapchuk said: "The biggest slide for the hryvnia happened in January. The hryvnia exchange rate to the dollar fell to 35.

"For some businesses where the share of import positions was more than 50 percent, businesses stopped being profitable at a rate of 20 to the dollar."

Currently at 24 to the dollar, the amount of hryvnia people need to buy food in Kiev is formidable with food price inflation at just over 30 percent in January, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics.

And with additional costs being added to consumer purchases through devaluation, the Ukrainian government is now taxing imports at between five and 10 percent.

Complete story at - Ukraine businesses battered by conflict, poor economy Anadolu Agency

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