Russian pro-Kremlin site Ukraina.ru published a story about Fitch Ratings latest outlook for Ukraine, focusing only on the negative elements and ignoring the country’s overall stable outlook in the forecast. Using only the first sentence of the Fitch report, Ukraina.ru claims Ukraine has the third largest shadow economy in the world after Azerbaijan and Nigeria.
The first sentence of the Fitch announcement reads as follows: Ukraine’s ratings reflect weak external liquidity, a high public debt burden and structural weaknesses, in terms of a weak banking sector, institutional constraints and geopolitical and political risks. This is the only bit of information that Ukraina.ru takes from the Fitch announcement, completely ignoring the sentence which follows: ” These factors are balanced against improved policy credibility and coherence, the sovereign’s near-term manageable debt repayment profile and a track record of bilateral and multilateral support.”
In the same announcement, Fitch reports that Ukraine’s international reserves are increasing, having reached its highest level since 2013 at 18.5 billion dollars in September. Ukraine has also returned to international debt markets for the first time since 2013 with a 3 billion dollars’ worth sale of Eurobonds. Ukraina.ru completely ignores these salient details.
Fitch forecasts 2017 economic growth for Ukraine at 2%, with domestic demand further driving growth to 3.2% and 3.7% in 2018 and 2019, respectively due to improvement in real incomes and growing access to credit.
Fitch’s overall outlook forecast for Ukraine is stable based on “Ukraine’s strengthened monetary and exchange rate policy which will support improved macroeconomic performance and domestic confidence”.
Last month Russian media disseminated a similar fake claiming that the Moody’s Ratings Agency had determined Ukraine to be the poorest of all post-Soviet states. Moody’s had in fact upgraded Ukraine by one notch based on the country’s structural reforms and upgraded the country’s outlook from stable to positive.