: :inin Kyiv (EET)

Fitch affirms Ukraine at `B-`; outlook stable

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Ukraine`s Long-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at `B-` with a Stable Outlook.

”Ukraine`s ratings balance weak external liquidity, a high public debt burden and structural weaknesses, in terms of a weak banking sector, institutional constraints and geopolitical and political risks, against improved policy credibility and coherence, the sovereign`s near-term manageable debt repayment profile and a track record of multilateral support,” FitchRatings reports.

”Ukraine`s 2016 GDP growth of 2.3% surpassed expectations, but the [trade] blockade [of the occupied Donbas] will negatively impact the mining, metallurgical and electricity sectors. We forecast growth to decelerate to 2% in 2017 before picking up to 3% in 2018 on the back of improving consumer demand and investment,” the report reads.

The agency notes that Ukraine`s international reserves rose to US$16.7 billion in early April boosted by the latest IMF disbursement ($1 billion), and the second installment (EUR 600 million) of the EU Macro-Financial Assistance Programme.

Reserves could increase further to $18.1 billion by year-end, according to the report.

The agency says the continuation of the IMF program is positive for Ukraine`s credit profile, ”as it supports external financing, underpins confidence and provides reform momentum.”

”However, further disbursements from the IMF and other international partners will depend on progress in the structural reform agenda, which is subject to delays and execution risks,” the report says. ”Key reforms benchmarks include pensions, land sales, privatisation and progress in the fight against corruption.”


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