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    Ukraine National Bank Downgrades 2017 Growth Forecast Amid Donbass Blockade

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    The National Bank of Ukraine said Tuesday it had downgraded this year's economic growth from 2.8 percent to 1.9 percent to take into account the ongoing blockade in southeastern Ukraine.

    KIEV (Sputnik) — The blockade of railway tracks between the self-proclaimed Donbass republics and Ukraine began in late January by former participants of military operations in Donbass. It has led to disruptions in deliveries of anthracite coal to Kiev-controlled territories. The blockade led to irregularities in supplies of anthracite coal from Donbass, leading to power shortages in Ukraine and prompting Kiev to declare an energy emergency.

    "Taking into account the effects of the blockade and a favorable external conditions, the National Bank revised the previous economic growth forecast in 2017 from 2.8 percent to 1.9 percent," the bank's press service said.

    In 2018, real GDP is expected to grow by 3.2 percent instead of the previously forecast 3 percent. It said it does not expect the blockade to seriously disrupt inflation and currency rates in 2017-2018.

    The National Bank of Ukraine added it had provided the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with a new macroeconomic forecast needed to receive the next tranche of financial aid, taking the blockade into account.

    In late January, a group of former participants of Ukraine's military operation in Donbass, including several lawmakers, blocked traffic on several segments of freight rail lines running from the territories uncontrolled by Kiev. The blockade led to irregularities in supplies of anthracite coal from Donbass, leading to power shortages in Ukraine and prompting Kiev to declare an energy emergency.

    On Thursday, Poroshenko put into force the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine to halt transport connection with the DPR and the LPR until the ceasefire was fully established in the region. Additionally, he made provisions to return the enterprises that local authorities had introduced the external control over to Ukraine's jurisdiction.

    The situation in Ukraine’s southeast escalated in January, when fighting between Ukrainian forces and the militia of the self-proclaimed republics intensified.

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    Tags:
    economic blockade, economic growth, Donbass, Ukraine
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