21 July 2011

BBCU Golf is back in Kyiv

British Business Club in Ukraine

Invites you to play golf at Royal Kyiv Golf Club


Starting Saturday 23 July 2011


For players and non-players

Enjoy a family day out. Non-Players are welcome to use the Academy Course

Special prices through the BBCU:

Academy Course - EUR 25 (all day)

18 Hole Course - EUR 45 (one round)

Please order your tickets:

Tel: 0442357223 or 0675271155

Email: administrator@bbcu.com.ua

Tickets must be purchased in advance from the BBCU

We look forward to seeing you on the golf course

19 July 2011

Ukraine and the EU

On 11th July 2011, I wrote "Why should Ukraine be allowed to Join the EU"
see: here

Well, last week the Rt Hon David Lidington MP -Minister for Europe gave the annual
Yalta Memorial Speech in London organised by the British Ukrainian Society.

You can see the full speech here

What do you think? In my opinion he does not really say WHY Ukraine should be invited
into the EU club?

Far too many politicians and diplomats should make the assumption that it will be 'best' for Ukraine to join the EU. I wonder.

Is the EU ready for a DCFTA with Ukraine?

Ukraine free-trade deal - a test of the EU’s credibility?
Is the EU ready to sign a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with Ukraine?
Maybe the EU is waiting to see the outcome of the various 'Political Persecution' court cases it has launched against members of the former government?

Too many Ukrainians assume it is all about business/trade. They are WRONG.
The conduct of the President in Ukraine and his government are important to the member states of the EU. They are watching Ukraine closely.

However, here is an interesting slant on the subject from a Ukrainian Member of Parliament

See story here

Trial of former Interior Minister - Yuriy Lutensko

Although we try to focus just on business here, its difficult to ignore the other current court case going on in Kyiv. The so called 'Trial' of former Interior Minister - Yuriy Lutsenko. He is charged with misappropriation of Hr 360,000 (approx USD 45,000) in state property and fraud since 13 Dec 2010. He has been held in pre-trial detention since December 2010.

Now....please step forward anyone who can give me the name of another country where a man or women would be detained in prison for an alleged offence relating to just USD 45,000?
(OK Russia always qualifies, so we will ignore them) But seriously can anyone tell me WHERE in the civilised world a former government minister would be put in prison for such a petty charge.

Perhaps we should just cut to the bottom line...."Would anyone disagree that this is clearly a case of political persecution?". Anyone?

18 July 2011

Not so sunny in the UK

According to a recent report in the International Business Times.

U.K. small firms report big drop in sentiment
The U.K.'s small business confidence has fallen dramatically during the three months to 30 June. FSB figures show that businesses were less confi-dent in the second quarter of 2011 than they were at the start of the year as the FSB „Voice of Small Business' Index fell by 6.4 points in the first quarter from +6.7 to +0.3. If the index registers zero it means there has been no change in confidence from the previous quarter. The higher the score is above zero, the greater the confidence of small businesses. The FSB is calling on the Government to cut VAT in the construction and tourism sectors to five per cent for a year to help give the economy a real boost. Consumer demand is a large barrier to economic growth so a VAT cut would encourage people to spend in these areas. Firms that sell or repair motor vehicles are the least confident with an Index score of -45, which is a 65 point drop on the previous quarter. The survey, which interviewed 1,633 small business owners across the UK, found that confidence had fallen in 13 of the 18 sectors it monitored. Financial services, manufacturing, and the computer industry were the most confident sectors, the survey found.

12 July 2011

Will we have a calm summer?

At this time of year we normally see Ukrainians starting to leave Kyiv for their summer 'escape'.
The parliament has already broken up for its long summer holidays.
Kyiv is already starting to be more calm..less traffic/people etc.
Late July/August and Kyiv can be a very quite place.

However, this year we have the 'political persecution' trial of Yulia Tymoshenko going on in Kyiv city centre. This will certainly keep many people active both in the streets and in the media news rooms. Plus I'm sure the President of Ukraine will be wanting to keep himself up to date with the progress of the case.

From a pure business view, we always tend to 'write off' the long summer break unless of course you are in the hospitality industry or a service sector related to tourism, then its a good time for your business. The rest of us just relax until the 1st of September. Well I wouldn't say relax this year, as many people are indeed still concentrating on just surviving in business, so there maybe a few people that skip the luxury of a holiday this year and stay around their home cities and make the most of the good weather.

Interesting Blog site

Have a look at this site.
Very interesting.

see here

11 July 2011

WHY should Ukraine be allowed to join the EU?

Much has been written this year about Ukraine and the EU entering into a 'Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement". Plus an 'Association Agreement'.
Now that Poland has assumed the six month 'baton' of the EU, the Polish leadership are determined to make a few marks. One of those marks is to develop a better relationship between Ukraine and the EU.

Today, I would like to throw open a challenge to all those diplomats and commentators and EU observers who in my opinion just assume that Ukraine would be better as a member of the EU.
Says WHO?

Question: Did anyone ever think about putting the question to the current membership of the EU.
i.e. "Would you like Ukraine to become a member of the EU.....YES or NO".
Moreover......Please supply a list of reasons as to just WHY you think Ukraine would make a good member of the EU?

Perhaps I can make it easier for Diplomats and journalists from western Europe.
Question: "Please tell us from your countries perspective, how Ukraine qualifies to become a member of the EU.?" Do you REALLY think Ukraine should be an EU member state?

I look forward to the replies.

08 July 2011

Ukraine - How big is the black economy?

Recently the editor of Forbes magazine, Daniel Fisher wrote in his blog that Ukraine was ranked as 4th amongst the WORST economies in the world.
Forbes used the following method to construct the listing:
We ranked 177 countries according to three-year average statistics for gross domestic product growth and inflation (including the IMF’s 2012 estimates), plus GDP per capita and the current account balance, a measure of whether the country is importing more than it exports.
See the Forbes link here

The 10 worst economies in the world, according to Forbes Magazine are:
1. Madagascar
2. Armenia
3. Guinea
4. Ukraine
5. Jamaica
6. Venezuela
7. Kyrgyzstan
8. Swaziland
9. Nicaragua

Surely it's obvious which one is the odd one out?
So, I decided to do a little analysis myself. Using data from the world bank see here
How on earth can Ukraine be ranked among Madagascar, Armenia, Guinea, Jamaica etc.
Well the basic reason is due to the very low GDP Per Capita in Ukraine. at just USD 2,800.
It is so low it beggars belief. OK I appreciate that apart from Iran, Ukraine has one of the highest populations amongst these other 'worst economies'.
See basic analysis here

So, the basic reason for Ukraine being on the list has got to be due to the low level of reported GDP at just USD 113 bn, plus the problems of the large reduction in GDP since 2009.

All governments try as best they can to manipulate figures to try and report better performance outputs. The reported GDP in Ukraine is clearly no where near the real figures. However, the government cannot report figures from thin air. How can they report a higher GDP if the stats are not there to back it up. Moreover, the IMF are closely watching Ukraine as the country needs approval to draw down the next tranche of IMF funding.

Many commentators suggest that the black economy in Ukraine is at least 50% of the whole real economy. Well, I'm starting to think it's more like 75%. The whole country operates in a 'shadow economy'. Even those closely related to government fail to declare the true state of earnings be it personal or from large corporate groups. The SME sector in Ukraine has practically gone underground. Although the government is reporting increases in tax collection, how many would admit that they are reporting the real state of the economy. Who knows the real state of the economy in Ukraine.?

Here is an indication. Look at the list of the 10 'worst economies' in the world and then think about visiting the capital city of one of these countries. How many of these cities would have:

1. A Bentley Dealership (with a long waiting list)
2. A Ferrari Dealership
3. An Aston Martin Dealership
4. A Porsche Dealership

A few questions:
In how many of these other cities would you see so many Mercedes, BMWs, Lexus and so many new cars on the streets. Plus do you see so many 'western banks' operating in these other cities?
Do you see exclusive restaurants where the prices are higher than in Paris and London?
How many of these other cities have Retail Property Rental prices in the main streets higher than in Western Europe. In how many of the other cities would you see women wearing the latest designer clothes with price tags to take your breath away.


The economy of Ukraine remains a mystery to the many people who try to understand it.

01 July 2011

Is the Euro crumbling?

What will happen to the Euro?
Will Greece be bailed out?
Which country is next?
Thanks to the BBC

See the video here

On the Beach in Kyiv

Many foreign tourists find it amazing that Kyiv has beaches.
I still take great pride in explaining to people when I am abroad that Kyiv has some great beach spots. You can imagine the surprise. The majority of foreigners cannot imagine that Kyiv would have even one beach, let alone several. Plus many of these places now have full service facilities.
Can you imagine London with beaches? I don't think so.

See the good story from the Kyiv Post here