The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) estimates the country may lose up to US$ 2 billion in forex revenue if the blockade of trade, including in coal, with occupied Donbas continues.
”Some 2 billion [US dollars] is the most pessimistic forecast. But it can become reality. We must not forget that [it is related to] metallurgy, one of the key export-oriented sectors, that accounted for about 40% of exports last year,” NBU Deputy Governor Dmytro Solohub said on Ukrainian television.
In his words, such drastic changes in the volume of forex receipts may affect the forex rate of the hryvnia. However, he assured the National Bank has all tools to stabilize short-term negative factors that have an impact on the exchange rate.
Earlier, in late January a group of Donbas war veterans and some Members of Parliament initiated a blockade of rail tracks used to transport anthracite coal from the temporarily uncontrolled areas to Ukraine`s thermal power stations. The Ukrainian government reported the supplies stalled on February 10, 2017, posing a threat to smooth energy supplies to certain industries, including metallurgy, as well as to consumers in at least nine regions in Ukraine, where anthracite is used to generate heat and electricity for households.
In this regard, the Cabinet at its extraordinary meeting on February 15 decided to introduce a state of emergency on the electricity market, providing a reduction in anthracite consumption to ensure stable operation of the country`s energy grids.
The European Union and the United States have condemned the blockade. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman emphasized that such form of protest is inadmissible since it directly affects the economy, provoking negative processes, such as a decline in production, the loss of forex earnings and the growth of unemployment in the industry and the energy sector.