The Margin: As Ukraine calls for more financial support, IMF plans in-person mission to war-torn country

by | Sep 23, 2022 | Stock Market

Seven months after Russia launched its devastating invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv’s dramatic counteroffensive is successfully clawing back territory in the Kharkiv region. Ukraine’s recent battlefield successes mark the latest chapter in the war, which began when Russian troops invaded on Feb. 24. But as Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II rages on, Ukraine is pushing for more support from the International Monetary Fund.

On Sept. 13, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted about his discussions with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. “Had a phone conversation with IMF Managing Director @KGeorgieva,” he wrote. “Thanked for the allocation of $1.4 billion of additional support. Discussed future cooperation to increase Ukraine’s financial stability.”

The $1.4 billion in support is being made through the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument, which is available to member countries facing an urgent balance-of-payments need. Opinion: The U.S. could help financially strapped Ukraine by scrapping hidden surcharges on its IMF loan “Excellent call with President @ZelenskyyUa,” Georgieva tweeted. “We discussed how @IMFNews can continue to back Ukraine and agreed to explore ways to ramp up our financial and policy engagement to Ukraine using all tools available to us.” But Ukraine needs much more than $1.4 billion. In July, National Bank of Ukraine Governor Kyrylo Shevchenko told Reuters that the country is aiming for an IMF loan of $15 billion to $20 billion by the end of 2022. “Ukraine faces a huge wartime budget deficit,” wrote Shevchenko in a recent opinion piece for the Financial Times. “This is inevitable for a country fighting a defensive war.” Citing Ukraine’s finance ministry, Shevchenko wrote that to cover the deficit, the government needs at least $5 billion a month in funding. The central bank could issue money to help combat the deficit, but that would erode household savings, “deepen crisis trends” in the economy, fuel inflation and undermine social stability, Shevchenko said. Ukraine is also an EU membership candidate, and Shevchenko noted that the group’s founding treaty prohibits national central banks from financing their governments. “Ukraine needs other …

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