Ukraine may need bigger bailout if crisis continues, IMF says
IMF estimates Ukraine may need $19B US more as it continues to fight pro-Russian rebels
Ukraine may need as much as $19 billion US in additional funds from donors if its conflict with pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country continues in 2015, the International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday.
Even under Kiev's current $17 billion IMF bailout, the Fund said Ukraine will not be able to meet all of its targets. The ongoing fighting and an intensified gas dispute with Russia, which supplies most of Ukraine's natural gas needs have hamstrung any prospects for growth.
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But the money planned under the program is largely sufficient for now as long as the fighting between the government in Kiev and the rebels subsides in the 'coming months,' the IMF said in a detailed review of Ukraine's progress and the state of its economy.
The IMF report painted a dire picture of a country trying to reform everything from banking management to the legal system. At the same time, it is spending increasing amounts on fighting in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Those regions together accounted for 23 per cent of Ukraine's industrial production and 14.5 per cent of its retail trade in the first quarter.
The Fund provided a bailout to Kiev as part of an overall $27- billion international rescue package. It said it would relax some conditions for Ukraine going forward, including for the government's budget deficit.
In return, Kiev would have to make up for the shortfall elsewhere, and do a better job of collecting payments for Naftogaz, the state-run oil and gas company.
The IMF also warned that Ukraine's reforms may become more difficult if the country calls early elections.
The Fund on Friday confirmed Kiev was on track with most of the loan's conditions so far, allowing it to receive $1.7 billion. It said the next disbursement, of about $2.7 billion, would come in mid-December if Kiev complies with the loan conditions.