Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

R M Cutler, "Ukraine goes from orange to red," Asia Times, October 22, 2008.

[Ukraine is not just an emerging economy. It is still one of the few places where desperate Bush supporters still claim a foreign policy success. -jlt]

  According to one report, the IMF has "recommended" cancellation of the snap parliamentary elections "as a condition" of access to the aforementioned $14 billion facility.

MONTREAL - For all the hand-wringing and justified concern about Asian economies, many countries in the region are in much better shape than several of the emerging markets in Europe. Hungary may yet have recourse to lending from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), while the Iceland debacle has received a good deal of publicity. Ukraine's plight is hardly less extreme.

Ukraine is in the midst of a financial and banking crisis, exacerbated by political turmoil, that has driven the principal national stock equities indicator, the PFTS Index, down 78% from a high of 1,209 in mid-March to 266 on Monday. The country relies heavily on external finance, and its banking system is by some measures the most at risk after Iceland’s, which collapsed only days ago. On the basis of the cost of its credit-default swaps, Ukraine is the least creditworthy of all of Europe’s emerging markets.

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R M Cutler ( is a Canadian international affairs specialist.
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