Ukraine to pay back nearly $15 billion in public debt in 2019

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Ukraine will have to repay over Hr 1 trillion ($36 billion) in public debt over the next three years, with more than Hr 417 billion ($15 billion) due as loans and interest in 2019 alone, Ukraine’s Finance Ministry stated in its macroeconomics overview and forecast published on Jan. 10.

In 2019, according to the Finance Ministry, Ukraine is required to pay Hr 150 billion ($5.3 billion) to cover the country’s internal debt, while Hr 122 billion ($4.3 billion) account for the country’s external obligations. An additional Hr 146 billion ($5.2 billion) are due as interest on existing loans.

Next year, Ukraine’s loan repayment and servicing costs (interest) will be around Hr 387 billion ($13.8 billion), while the peak year will be 2021, when more than Hr 434 billion ($15.5 billion) will be due to internal and external creditors.

The report was issued days after the International Monetary Fund released a similar economic forecast and approved an additional $3.9 billion loan for the country.

The new 14-month Stand-by Agreement with the IMF is meant to anchor Ukraine’s economy during the election year, until a new government is formed in late 2019. The country received $1.4 billion on Dec. 18, with two additional transfers to be released after the completion of semi-annual reviews on May 15 and Nov. 15, according to the fund.

Overall, Ukraine’s total external debt decreased in the past couple of years — from 122.5 percent of Ukraine’s gross domestic product in 2016 to 95.5 percent in 2018. Ukraine’s current public and publicly guaranteed debt equates to 65.2 percent of the country’s GDP, or $82.5 billion, down from 81.2 percent in 2016.

According to ratings agency Fitch, Ukraine’s sovereign credit rating is B-, compared to CCC back in 2015.

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