Ukraine: Hryvnia plummets amid global emerging market sell-off
April 3, 2020
The Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH) plummeted against the U.S. dollar over the past few weeks, amid fears over the escalation of the Covid-19 health crisis and its impact on activity. The currency ended 3 April at UAH 27.57 per USD, marking a 9.7% depreciation over the same day in March. Furthermore, the currency was down 1.3% year-on-year and 14.0% year-to-date.
The robust gains made by the hryvnia last year were swept away in March as foreign investors ditched Ukrainian bonds amid the global capital flight triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. In an attempt to stem the fall of the currency, the Central Bank intervened in currency markets in March, selling USD 2.2 billion.
Going forward, the hryvnia is expected to regain ground as the health crisis subsides. A new three-year deal with the IMF expected to be ratified later in April should boost confidence among investors looking to benefit from a high interest rate differential; however, it will take time for capital inflows to return to pre-pandemic levels as global uncertainties linger.
Author: Nicolás J. Aguilar, Economist