Ukraine hoping to wait out bond market's Russia worries

2 minute read

The national flag of Ukraine flies over the town of Kramatorsk, Ukraine November 25, 2021. Picture taken with a drone on November 25, 2021. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

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LONDON, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Ukraine hopes to wait out current market turbulence fed by Russian invasion worries before tapping international capital markets again, the head of the country's debt management said on Thursday.

Ukraine has a $1 billion refinancing deadline in September but the government's bond yields - a proxy for what it would have to pay to borrow - have spiked following a run of interest rate hikes and a build-up of Russian troops near its borders.

"We have most of the year to watch the market," Yuriy Butsa, Ukraine’s government commissioner for public debt management told Reuters.

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"As we showed last year, we are actually very quick to move if the market conditions are favourable. We will be really opportunistic."

Ukraine's central bank raised interest rates again on Thursday to try an tame inflation and steady the country's currency which has slumped amid the geopolitical tensions with Moscow. read more

The country, which saw its Crimea region annexed by Russia in 2014, is heavily reliant on international support and needs to secure a new IMF programme next year when its current $5 billion facility ends in June.

But to secure the loan, the IMF has said that Ukraine needs to stick to reforms, protect the central bank's independence and maintain fiscal discipline. read more

"We don't have a discussion on-going on the new programme before we finalise this one," Butsa said, adding that it could start to be discussed at the current programme's final review next year.

He added that Kiev had formally requested new support money from the European Union, but that a decision could take some time.

"I think there are other countries, neighbouring countries, that will probably also be interested in the same form of support. So I don't rule out that it can be a combined initiative from the EU," Butsa said.

Ukraine's GDP-linked bonds
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Reporting by Marc Jones Editing by Nick Zieminski

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