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Hryvnia Rallies To 1-Month Highs After Ukraine Raises Benchmark Rate To 30%

Ukraine's infamous pink Porsche-driving central bank governor, Valeriya Gontareva, raised the nation's refinancing rate from 19.5% to a stunning 30% (effective Wednesday) in order to "stabilize the situation in the money and lending markets," and imposed some 'capital controls' on exporters holding foreign cash.


For now, the hink to the highest rate since 2000 is having a positive effect as UAH has rallied 2-3 handles back to one-month highs against the USD - having lost over 60% of its value in the last year (though we note these are the 'official' rates and may not represent actual UAH transactions in the real world). "The central bank is trying to send a strong signal that it is in charge," noted on analyst as the country desperately waits for its $17.5bn bailout from US taxpayers The IMF.



As Bloomberg reports, Ukraine's central bank is “eager” to strengthen the hryvnia toward the 21.7 per dollar average rate in the 2015 budget, which is important to ensure a board approval of the IMF loan next week...

Ukraine’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate to the highest since 2000 as policy makers struggle to curb a decline in the nation’s currency and seek to move closer to obtaining an emergency loan.


The National Bank of Ukraine raised its refinancing rate to 30 percent from 19.5 percent, effective Wednesday, to “stabilize the situation on the money and lending markets,” Governor Valeriya Gontareva told reporters in Kiev. The regulator also retained a requirement for exporters to convert 75 percent of their foreign-currency revenue, helping the hryvnia strengthen 9.3 percent against the dollar.


Ukraine is working to access an International Monetary fund loan to avert default after the war with pro-Russian separatists in the country’s east helped wipe 15.2 percent off the economy last quarter compared with a year earlier. Authorities are also trying to prevent capital flight and stabilize the hryvnia, which has lost 60 percent against the dollar in the past year to become the world’s worst-performing currency.


“The rate hike will increase the appeal of holding hryvnias, so it will be a positive factor, but I’m not sure that it alone will be enough to fix a rather acute deficit of dollar supply,” Fyodor Bagnenko, a Kiev-based trader at Dragon Capital, said by e-mail. “What’s really needed in this situation is a combination of administrative and monetary measures -- and it seems like this is exactly what the central bank is doing.”


All laws demanded by the IMF for the approval of a four-year $17.5 billion loan program have been adopted by lawmakers, Gontareva said.

Ukraine’s First Deputy Finance Minister Ihor Umanskyi said Feb. 27 that IMF funds will go into reserves, because “it will be very difficult to douse the fire and panic without additional resources poured in.”

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So it would appear - by raising rates so dramatically, and choking off any hope of economic recovery - that the central bank is betting the netire nation's future on achieving the target FX rates that enable money to flow from The IMF...

Ironically, The IMF, at the same time, is drawing blood from Greece's stone (as it raids its pension funds to cover its debt).

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Ukraine credit risk remains the worst in the world...