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10:20
EXPERTS: HRYVNIA DOOMED TO WEAKEN

Kyiv, July 29 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Unfavorable economic trends, in conjunction with mistakes made by the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) are predetermining the further weakening of the hryvnia against the U.S. dollar, Ukrainian experts say.

"The decline in the forex rate is inevitable, because there are no grounds for strengthening: there is neither economic growth, nor safeguards against imports or the facilitation of exports," Serhiy Yaremenko, the advisor to the Economy Minister and former NBU governor, told Interfax-Ukraine.

Moreover, he said, the behavior of the regulator on the forex market remains unpredictable and usually lacks logic, which aggravates the situation.

"The NBU's activity does not allow forecasting about how the forex market will move even in the short-term outlook, i.e. over two weeks. There is no well-considered policy - [no such policy] is being pursued by anybody," he said.

However, Yaremenko said, even better performance from the central bank won't bring the forex rate to UAH 6.0-6.50 per U.S. dollar.

As respected Ukrainian financial analyst, head of Kyiv-based Ukrsotsbank's investment and banking services department Erik Naiman told reporters, the acceleration of the national currency's weakening is partly connected with the excess printing of the hryvnia and payments for imported gas.

"The bulk of trouble with the hryvnia usually happens in October. However, now the market is fast-forwarding, therefore the most unpleasant events might happen earlier… Over the past 1.5 – 2 months quite a large amount of hryvnias have been printed, [and] the money, of course, has started leaking onto the forex market," he explained.

Experts from the Astrum Investment Management company say that the release by the International Monetary Fund of a regular tranche worth $3.3 billion to Ukraine might prop up the hryvnia in the near-term outlook, although prerequisites for its further weakening still exist.

As reported, the weakening of the hryvnia against the U.S. dollar speeded up June through July: since June 15, 2009, the forex rate of the hryvnia on the interbank forex market has fallen from UAH 7.63 per U.S. dollar. However, the highest daily change was fixed over the period on July 28: the rate plunged to UAH 8.17 per U.S. dollar from UAH 7.955 per U.S. dollar over the day. Since the beginning of the year, the forex rate on the interbank market has slid by 1.5% from UAH 8.05 per U.S. dollar, having wiped out the strengthening seen in the first half of 2009.

On Tuesday, July 29, there were no drastic changes in the dynamics of the forex rate on the interbank market so far – quotations are within the range of UAH 8.10-8.25 per U.S. dollar.

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