Ukraine’s Dollar Addiction

Inflation in Ukraine is skyrocketing, because its currency, the hryvnia, remains pegged to the US dollar. Unless Ukraine's central bank floats the currency soon, the outcome is likely to be a costly and unnecessary financial crisis.

KYIV – Inflation in Ukraine is skyrocketing. By March, it reached 26% per year and continues to rise. Although prices are increasing around the world, Ukraine’s inflation is extreme, twice as much as in neighboring Russia. Amazingly, instead of dampening inflation, Ukraine’s central bank is stoking it.

Ukraine’s prices started spiraling out of control around the time when Yuliya Tymoshenko returned as prime minister last December. Malicious observers suggest that she is to blame for pursuing populist social expenditures. But this is false. Her government actually tightened the budget just before New Year. Indeed, Finance Minister Viktor Pynzenyk reports that the state recorded a budget surplus of 0.6% of GDP during the first quarter of 2008.

This is not surprising, because state revenues expand with rising prices, while expenditures are largely fixed. But Tymoshenko’s government has, in reality, done a solid fiscal job. State finances are generally in good shape, with public debt at just 11% of GDP. According to the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), international reserves have grown steadily and now stand at $33 billion.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/b4ZIp2N;
  1. An employee works at a chemical fiber weaving company VCG/Getty Images

    China in the Lead?

    For four decades, China has achieved unprecedented economic growth under a centralized, authoritarian political system, far outpacing growth in the Western liberal democracies. So, is Chinese President Xi Jinping right to double down on authoritarianism, and is the “China model” truly a viable rival to Western-style democratic capitalism?

  2. The assembly line at Ford Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

    Whither the Multilateral Trading System?

    The global economy today is dominated by three major players – China, the EU, and the US – with roughly equal trading volumes and limited incentive to fight for the rules-based global trading system. With cooperation unlikely, the world should prepare itself for the erosion of the World Trade Organization.

  3. Donald Trump Saul Loeb/Getty Images

    The Globalization of Our Discontent

    Globalization, which was supposed to benefit developed and developing countries alike, is now reviled almost everywhere, as the political backlash in Europe and the US has shown. The challenge is to minimize the risk that the backlash will intensify, and that starts by understanding – and avoiding – past mistakes.

  4. A general view of the Corn Market in the City of Manchester Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

    A Better British Story

    Despite all of the doom and gloom over the United Kingdom's impending withdrawal from the European Union, key manufacturing indicators are at their highest levels in four years, and the mood for investment may be improving. While parts of the UK are certainly weakening economically, others may finally be overcoming longstanding challenges.

  5. UK supermarket Waring Abbott/Getty Images

    The UK’s Multilateral Trade Future

    With Brexit looming, the UK has no choice but to redesign its future trading relationships. As a major producer of sophisticated components, its long-term trade strategy should focus on gaining deep and unfettered access to integrated cross-border supply chains – and that means adopting a multilateral approach.

  6. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now