IMF may unlock bailout funds for Ukraine in June

Deputies clash during a session of the parliament in Kiev © Alexei Furman
Ukraine may get the $1.7 billion in bailout money next month after getting International Monetary Fund (IMF) approval, according to the Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine, Oleg Churiy, as cited by Bloomberg.

The tranche is the third portion of Ukraine’s $17.5 billion bailout program, which was suspended for eight months due to the political turmoil in the country and wrangling over the budget.

“If all issues are resolved, the IMF board decision could come in late June,” said the bank official, adding that the tranche could arrive within a few days after that.

The national currency will not benefit as a result of the IMF cash injection, because of a gradual reduction of capital controls which will bring no gains, according to Churiy.

“Lifting restrictions will push demand for foreign currency in Ukraine up and supply down,” said the bank governor, stressing that it was impossible to predict a hryvnia appreciation trend, if everything’s alright with funds from international lenders.

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New Prime Minister Vladimir Groysman has resumed cooperation with the IMF. Ukraine's Parliament plans to start debating 19 laws required by the IMF, including bills on privatization and regulation.

Last month, Kiev doubled the cost Ukrainian consumers pay for gas to meet bailout requirements. The country also has to raise tariffs on utilities to an economically justifiable level. Electricity costs are supposed to be doubled by 2017 despite previous hikes along with gas and heating prices.

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Earlier this week, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Moscow wouldn’t support the IMF's bailout program for Ukraine unless it includes paying off Kiev’s $3 billion debt to Moscow.