NBU decision to increase refinancing rate shows NBU remains focused on sustainably reducing inflation - Fitch
The refinancing rate rise shows that the NBU remains focused on sustainably reducing inflation as part of its planned shift towards inflation targeting and commitment to preserving improvements in the country's macroeconomic and financial stability, Fitch Ratings analysts have said.
"Thursday's rate rise shows that the NBU remains focused on sustainably reducing inflation… An independent and credible monetary policy, together with the authorities' commitment to exchange rate flexibility, should support better macroeconomic performance, domestic confidence, and the economy's capacity to absorb shocks," Fitch said in a press release.
The experts said that a credible and effective policy framework is needed to anchor macroeconomic stability and confidence, especially as disbursements under Ukraine's IMF programme are on hold, and provides key support for Ukraine's sovereign rating.
They said that the nomination, after a long delay, of acting NBU Governor Yakiv Smoliy to fill the role on a permanent basis should also reduce uncertainty regarding policy continuity and independence at the NBU.
Cementing policy credibility gains and tackling inflation will also depend on the fiscal stance, and improvement in the health of the banking sector and progress beyond the next disbursement in the IMF programme.
Fitch's baseline scenario expects the next IMF tranche (of around $1.9 billion) to be disbursed this year.
However, progress beyond the next disbursement in the IMF programme will depend on how much political capital the government can invest in pushing ahead with reforms in a pre-election year (parliamentary and presidential elections are due in 2019), Fitch said.
"Ukraine's near-term debt repayment profile is manageable following its 2015 external bond restructuring. But continued engagement with the IMF and other multilateral partners remains key to maintaining access to official financing sources and external funding markets as government debt service picks up significantly in 2020-2021," Fitch said.
Fitch-rated Ukrainian corporates are not directly affected by the rate increase, as most of their funding is in foreign currencies, mainly U.S. dollars, and they are mainly export oriented, with limited exposure to the domestic market, with the exception of DTEK.