Ukraine’s gross external debt increases to 90.7% of GDP in Q4 2023 – NBU

The volume of Ukraine’s gross external debt during the fourth quarter of 2023 increased by $10.6 billion – to $161.5 billion, in relation to GDP, the debt increased from 89.3% to 90.7%, such estimates were published by the National Bank of Ukraine.

According to its data, the growth occurred due to the government, whose external debt added $10.5 billion and amounted to $98.3 billion, or 55.2% of GDP, while external liabilities of the private sector increased by only $300 million - to $63.2 billion (35.5% of GDP).

The NBU clarified that this increase in public debt is associated with the net attraction of loans from international partners ($7.4 billion) and from the IMF ($600 million), as well as the weakening of the dollar ($2.5 billion). At the same time, the external debt of the central bank decreased by $200 million due to planned payments to the IMF - to $2.2 billion.

According to the regulator, the volume of external liabilities of other banks remained virtually unchanged and amounted to $1.7 billion.

The external debt of other sectors of the economy in the fourth quarter decreased by only $100 million - to $40.3 billion: the reduction in external debt on trade loans (by $600 million) was offset by an increase in debt on loans and borrowings (by $500 million).

According to NBU statistics, the intercompany debt of enterprises in direct investment relationships increased by $400 million and amounted to $21.2 billion due to an increase in external debt on loans and borrowings from direct investors (by $600 million).

The increase in private sector debt in the fourth quarter due to exchange rate changes is estimated at $800 million.

According to the central bank, the volume of overdue debt on unguaranteed loans from the real sector (including from direct investors) increased by $1.4 billion over the quarter and amounted to $26.1 billion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2023.

In terms of the geographical structure of private sector debt on non-guaranteed loans (together with intercompany debt), Cyprus remains the main creditor country - 48.2%, although its share decreased by 0.3 percentage points (p.p.) during the quarter. At the same time, the shares of the Netherlands increased by 0.9 percentage points, to 8.2%, the USA - by 0.1 percentage points, to 3.1% and Germany - by 0.1 percentage points, to 3.1%, while the UK share remained at 10.8%.

In the overdue debt of the real sector for these instruments, the share of Cyprus decreased from 57% to 54%, the share of Great Britain - from 9% to 8.5%, but the share of the Netherlands increased - from 6.2% to 9.6%.