Skip to content

09KYIV1495, UKRAINE TRADE DEFICIT SHRINKS IN H1 2009

September 2, 2009

WikiLeaks Link

To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.
Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol).Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #09KYIV1495.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KYIV1495 2009-09-02 09:03 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Kyiv

VZCZCXRO6695
PP RUEHDBU RUEHIK RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHSK RUEHSL RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHKV #1495/01 2450903
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 020903Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8346
INFO RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KYIV 001495 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR EUR/UMB, EEB/OMA 
STATE PLEASE PASS TO USTR 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON ETRD EFIN PGOV UP XH UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE TRADE DEFICIT SHRINKS IN H1 2009 
 
REF: KYIV 1086 
 
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED, NOT FOR INTERNET DISTRIBUTION 
 
1. (U) Summary and comment: Recently released government of Ukraine 
(GOU) statistics show the trade deficit narrowing 93% in the first 
half of 2009, with exports falling by 46.8% and imports by 53.4%. 
The government reported that the hardest hit import sector continues 
to be automotive, declining 89.9% in the first half of the year. 
Imports are expected to pick up in the second half of the year due 
to increased gas purchases.  How much imports outpace exports in the 
months to come will depend as much on external demand for Ukraine's 
commodities as it will on the domestic appetite for consumption. 
End summary and comment. 
 
Trade Deficit Narrowed on Low Imports 
------------------------------------- 
 
2. (U) Ukraine's trade deficit narrowed 93% year-on-year (yoy) in 
the first half of 2009 from $7.07 billion to $472 million.  Although 
exports fell 46.8%, imports fell even more sharply at 53.4% yoy. 
Imports of machinery and vehicles showed particularly strong 
declines: 65.1% and 89.9%, respectively. Imports have suffered from 
hryvnia depreciation, import restrictions, and falling domestic 
demand.  In coming months, analysts expect this trend to reverse and 
the trade deficit to widen somewhat.  Resumed growth in energy 
prices and expected larger volumes of natural gas imports, along 
with the need to replenish inventories that have not been restocked 
due to the crisis and ensuing credit crunch, should push up imports 
in the second half.  However, the rate of export decline is also 
likely to slow as the global economy shows signs of improvement and 
demand for Ukraine's steel and other commodities improves. 
 
Case Study: Autos -- Hardest Hit Import Sector 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
3. (SBU) Representing almost 14% by value of Ukraine's merchandise 
imports in mid-2008 and only about 5% now, the automobile import 
sector has suffered significantly from the economic downturn.  Car 
dealers have been forced to sell goods far below cost to maintain 
cash flows and meet payroll.  One foreign car importer commented to 
us on August 29 that he expected to lose $5 million in 2009.  He 
said that his company had met its foreign financial obligations in 
the year to date, only because it had been willing to take 
short-term losses and shed costly inventory.  Other car companies 
that had not taken the same measures, he said, still had a glut of 
unsold inventory and could not make advanced orders for 2010 
product.  The fact that some importers were making plans to build 
new inventory, while others remained stuck with 2009 models, would 
continue to undermine import growth for the remainder of 2009, he 
said. 
 
4. (SBU) The car importer also told us that premium brand vehicles, 
such as Porsche, had maintained their popularity during the crisis, 
though more than 60% of such vehicles had been illegally imported in 
2009, far higher than the 20% tacitly allowed by the government in 
previous years.  The dealer cited heightened corruption among border 
and customs officials, who, he said, were signing falsified 
documents in the absence of other profit opportunities. 
 
5. (SBU) The GOU's 13% import tariff surcharge on automobiles had 
not dramatically reduced car imports, given that thousands of unsold 
2009 vehicles had been ordered before the crisis and remained for 
months in open lots on the periphery of Ukraine's major cities, 
according to the car importer.  Now that many inventories had been 
lowered, with sales of vehicles at or below cost, some car importers 
were preparing to bring new stock into the country.  Unsure whether 
to trust the August 3 statement of Deputy Minister of Economy 
Valeriy Pyatnytskiy that the 13% tariff surcharge would not extend 
beyond its expiration date on September 7 (reftel), importers were 
lining up cars at staging areas near Ukraine's border crossings, 
from which they planned to bring vehicles into Ukraine in a single 
bold rush at the end of the week. 
 
Credit Crunch Mitigated by Rollovers 
------------------------------------ 
 
6.  (SBU) Importers have told us that dollar or euro-denominated 
external loan obligations caused the biggest drag on foreign trade 
in 2009, due to a 40% currency devaluation and the closure of 
international financial markets to Ukrainian borrowers. 
Nonetheless, most short-term loans were refinanced with local banks 
in the first half of the year, according to the National Bank of 
Ukraine (NBU).  The overall roll-over rate for commercial loans in 
the first seven months of 2009 was 79 percent.  Despite the fact 
that commercial bankers have complained to us that they were "over a 
barrel" with potential non-performing loans held by both exporters 

 
KYIV 00001495  002 OF 002 
 
 
and importers, the NBU has touted the fact that corporations were 
able to roll over roughly 99% of their obligations through July. 
 
 
PETTIT

Wikileaks

Advertisements
Leave a Comment

Post tour comment here

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: