With the dollar trading close to Hr. 9 on the interbank currency exchange, up from Hr. 4.60 in the spring, Ukraine faces its deepest economic crisis since the early ‘90s.
Millions will lose their subsistence jobs, and thousands already have. Currency speculators are ringing up record profits, and government officials keep finger-pointing.
PM Yulia Tymoshenko on Thursday charged President Yushchenko and National Bank Governor Volodymyr Stelmakh with having a role in the currency speculations. Stelmakh countercharged:
NBU Chairman Volodymyr Stelmakh: Today, Ukraine’s economy is in a very difficult situation. The government’s grossly incompetent policies in managing the economy have led to a point where, already in December of this year, Ukraine may find itself in domestic default. Today, the government has no money for wages, pensions, social security, and liabilities of foreign and domestic kind. The Board of Governors of the National Bank of Ukraine is concerned about today’s situation, when the Prime Minister has crossed the line that no one has ever crossed. Particularly cynical is the fact that the ammo in the government’s political wars may very well be ordinary people who will be the first to suffer from the banking system’s stabilization. [sic]
This reminds me of Yanukovych’s Freudian slip during the presidential debates: “We must secure for our citizens a feeling of insecurity.”
To soothe the soul of the insecure “little Ukrainian,” Yushchenko offers his reassurances:
President Yushchenko: Currently, the National Bank is switching to daily auction mode, which aims to start currency trading from the highest bid. Those who made such a high bid, let them buy. But they will know that tomorrow they will lose because the announced exchange rate for tomorrow will be different.
The good news: In today’s interbank exchange trading, the hryvnia rebounded to Hr. 8.5 per dollar.
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