While the political alarm reports about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine are getting worse every day, the Americans are withdrawing embassy staff and the federal government is preparing precautionary emergency plans for the evacuation of German citizens, business representatives are practicing composure. "Of course we get one or two worried calls," says the CEO of the German-Ukrainian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Alexander Markus, of the FAZ. However, he is downplaying the consequences of the political situation, which has been escalating for weeks, for the economy. There have never been so many inquiries about settlements in Ukraine as in the last few months. "Therefore, we do not see any reduction in the willingness to invest in Ukraine," said Markus.
The information from the Austrian business delegates in Kiev is similar.
"Basically, business activities are continuing normally, and we have no information about any staff deductions," Gabriele Haselsberger answers questions from the FAZ, and she adds: "As far as we know, current investment projects will be continued.
We are currently not aware of any completely new projects that are being put on hold for the time being.” Foreign direct investments in Ukraine rose again last year after a decline in 2020.
The Ukrainian economy as a whole recovered from the Corona crisis in the past year, even if the growth in gross domestic product (GDP) of probably 2.8 percent could not make up for the slump of 4 percent in the previous year.
A record harvest coupled with rising world market prices for agricultural products have supported the upswing and raised the GDP of the country with its 40 million inhabitants to an unprecedented 200 billion dollars.
No hamster purchases
That supports the mood. There are no reports of panic buying at grocery stores or queues at ATMs where people are looting their accounts. "These would be the first signs that the local population is losing trust and exchanging everything for dollars," says Robert Kirchner. He is deputy head of the German Economic Team, financed by the German government, which advises the government in Kiev on economic issues. Kirchner's team expects economic growth of 3.3 percent in Ukraine this year, provided geopolitical tensions do not escalate.
The Kiev central bank had reduced its growth target for 2022 to this level last week. It is now only 3.4 percent and no longer 3.8 percent. The potential of the economy is limited by the consequences of the corona crisis, high energy prices and shortages of raw materials, said the chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine, Kyrylo Shevchenko. First and foremost, however, he named the "tense geopolitical situation, which will affect investment decisions".
But even the financial markets, the classic early indicators of the economic consequences of political earthquakes, only reacted with a delay.
"The conflict on the financial markets was not an issue for a long time," says Kirchner.
"One reason for this may be that the markets have become accustomed to the ups and downs of political tensions in recent years and have shown a certain composure," he says.
However, that was over in the course of January.Keywords: