The underachiever ukraine s economy since 1991
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The underachiever: Ukraine’s economy since 1991. Pekka Sutela Carnegie Endowment 27 January 2012. Track record. Ukraine has grown with the region Was in 1990 one of the poorest of Soviet republics and has remained in a similar position: no catching up, no lagging behind

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The underachiever: Ukraine’s economy since 1991

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The underachiever:Ukraine’s economy since 1991

Pekka Sutela

Carnegie Endowment

27 January 2012

Pekka Sutela

Track record

  • Ukraine has grown with the region

    • Was in 1990 one of the poorest of Soviet republics and has remained in a similar position: no catching up, no lagging behind

  • Growth in 2011 (>4%) and expectation for 2012 (<4%) essentially identical with Russia

  • Inflation in 2011 higher than in Russia, and expected to remain so

  • The 2012 Index of Economic Freedom: 163/183 countries, lowest in the European region

Pekka Sutela

Issues for 2012

  • Foreign trade and payments

    • Current account deficit 8.75 BUSD in 2011:1-11 (2.13 BUSD in 2010)

    • Capital outflow due to European financial regression

    • Servicing 8.2 BUSD of public and >50 BUSD (est.) of total debt

      • Government bonds (maturing 2117) yield 6.9 in 2011:7, 10.9 in 2012:1

      • Official reserves 38.2 BUSD in 2011:8, 30.4 BUSD in 2011:12

  • Fiscal affairs

    • Headline budget deficit 4.3%/GDP, more in state banks and companies

    • Exceptionally large pension burden with declining and greying population

Pekka Sutela

  • Gas

    • Import price 400 USD in 2011:IV, according to contract 416 USD in 2012:1 (without Kharkiv discount?). Ukraine aims at 250 USD (with discount?)

    • Less transit revenue due to Nord Stream

    • European buyers demanding and getting price discounts: puts also pressure on transit fees

    • Ukraine claims to be able to decrease gas imports from 40 Bm3 in 2011 to 27 Bm3. From gas to coal?

Pekka Sutela

World Bank’s Doing Business 2011:Kazakhstan, Russia and Ukraine(out of 183)

Pekka Sutela

Ukraine / IMF situation

  • Press briefing yesterday: ”an active dialogue through technical teams in the period ahead”

  • No timeline

Pekka Sutela

Three questions

  • Why is such a badly functioning economy able to grow as fast as others in peer group on average?

  • Why is Ukraine such a badly functioning economy?

  • Is the combination of bad functioning and average growth a vicious circle?

Pekka Sutela

(1) Why is such a badly functioning economy able to grow as fast as others in peer group on average?

  • We do not really know how fast countries have been growing

    • General problems in changing statistics from Soviet ones to market based

    • True depth of decline in the 1990s unclear, due to high inflation, change in price relations and structural change

    • Estimating the true size of shadow economy difficult , especially large in Ukraine

  • Steep decline in GDP provides for fast recovery growth

    • probably

  • Neither are the others in peer group well-functioning

    • But Ukraine seems to be the worst on these indicators

Pekka Sutela

  • Perhaps Ukraine inherited better capital stock, infrastructure?

    • Possible, due to post-war reconstruction

    • But Ukraine not better in infrastructure and general industry reform (EBRD Sector Transition Indicators 2011)

  • Then, Russia and Kazakhstan are resource rich, Ukraine resource wealthy

    • Russia has Resource Curse, no Dutch Disease

    • How about Ukraine?

Pekka Sutela

The Ukrainian Curse

  • In the 2000s Ukraine’s terms of trade improved by 50%

    • Unit values of exports (metals, metallurgy, petrochemicals) rose with fast global growth

    • Prices of energy exports from Russia (gas!) remained low

    • This created a rent division game with need of access to state resources and corruption

    • Privatization to domestic owners (oligarchs); little access by outsiders including Russians

  • Logistics as another source of rents

    • Pipelines, railways, roads, harbors

Pekka Sutela

The windfall is not sustainable

  • By 2006 Russian leadership had concluded that the country could not develop on resources

    • Very slow growth of oil and gas production

    • GDP expected to grow faster due to structural change, financial deepening etc

    • Maintaining export volumes only possible with improved energy efficiency, which demands higher prices and much more (modernization)

    • Jobs could therefore no longer be subsidized through low energy prices. Much wider competitiveness (diversification) needed

  • The economic reasons for gas price disputes do not exclude political ones. But why give Ukraine priority access to raw materials and logistics windfalls?

Pekka Sutela

Ukraine aiming at best of both worlds: the grey zone

  • Export markets are in Europe and Asia

    • Ukraine does export high-value goods also, but only ones produced in Soviet-time plants, and in small volumes: no real diversification

    • Collapse of machinery exports to FSU has made exports more one-sided and lower value-added

    • Agri-business an argument for free trade with EU

    • Few incentives to adopt acquis as no membership perspective available. Motivation for ”free and comprehensive free trade”at best unclear

  • Import markets are in Russia. How to combine

    • National independence

    • Access to cheap raw materials and logistics windfall

Pekka Sutela

(2) Why is Ukraine such a badly functioning economy?

  • Modern economics says

    • Long past institutions and culture have an impact on modern performance

      • Lack of individualism

      • Impact of different empires, with Russia as the dominant one

  • Tragic 20th century

    • Battle field of world and civil wars

    • Stalinism, collectivization, holocaust, forced population movements

    • From internationalism to Soviet closedness

  • Peculiarities of the 1990s

    • Nation building over structural reforms

    • Free room for asset-grabbing

  • The Ukrainian Curse

Pekka Sutela

(3) How can the circle be broken?

  • Only the Ukrainians can do it

  • There is no lack of reform blueprints

  • Political will does not exist

Pekka Sutela

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