Walking the high wire without a safety net?

András Cserháti
Senior Product Manager

It’s not worth going against the wishes of the IMF, although there are exceptions

Take your seats for a spectacular production, which for the time being is only showing in our neighbouring countries, Ukraine and Romania. One year ago, almost to the day, on 10 November 2008, just like Hungary our north-eastern neighbour, Ukraine, was granted a hefty, USD 16.4 billion loan by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Here the purpose of the lifebelt, as elsewhere, was to assist the government in its work by bolstering confidence, and to restore economic and financial stability, thus avoiding a landing so hard as to be indistinguishable from a crash. There was certainly an urgent need for this assistance in the case of what was then the latest victim of the global economic crisis, since the liquidity crisis and fall in raw materials prices, especially the price of steel, had also caused severe problems in Ukraine. This was accompanied by the annual “cat and mouse” game between Russia and the Ukraine, otherwise known as “Gas Wars”, which is a key issue for the whole of Europe due to Ukraine’s strategic position in the gas supply chain. And last, but by no means least, the central and eastern European banks (and thus the economies of their home countries), are tied by a myriad of strands to the former Soviet republic through their Ukrainian subsidiaries.


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