Kyiv-listed stocks finished mostly higher last week, with individual corporate stories playing key role in trading activation on local exchanges. The PFTS index advanced by 1.4% to 516 points, buoyed by a 12% gain in UkrNafta (UNAF). The stock reached UAH 165 per share after an announcement that state-owned natural gas storage operator UkrTransGaz signed a deal that effectively transferred 2.06bn cubic meters of gas to UkrNafta, ending a multi-year intra-group conflict.
Quotes for Raiffeisen Bank Aval (BAVL) jumped by 6.6% to 37.00 kopecks amid rising expectations that the bank will pay a dividend of up to 7.50 kopecks per share from its FY19 profit. Meanwhile, CentrEnergo (CEEN) remained unchanged at UAH 8.53 per share, and DonbasEnergo (DOEN) decreased by 1.6% to UAH 24.43.
In major economic news, Ukraine’s current account deficit shrank by 75% YoY to USD 1.1bn in 2019 as a result of the arrival of a USD 2.9bn penalty payment from Russia’s Gazprom and a continuation of the solid flow of remittances in the period. In relative terms, the C/A deficit decreased to 0.7% of GDP from 3.3% of GDP seen in 2018.
In political developments, Parliament started the second and final reading of the very sensitive land reform bill. The reading might take several weeks, as some 4000 amendments need to be voted on by MPs. But the proposed amendments were either identical or were already included in other legislative acts. The bill, which would open up the sale of the country’s farmland starting this autumn, won initial backing in late 2019.
On the London Stock Exchange, MHP (MHPC) was unable to reverse its recent downturn, losing an additional 2.1% to close at USD 8.30. Ferrexpo (FXPO) added 6.6% to GBp 145 in highly volatile trading. Natgas producer Regal Petroleum (RPT) picked up 2.4% to GBp 21.50.
In Warsaw trading, top liquid Ukrainian stock Kernel (KER) edged up by 1.0% to PLN 47.40 and beaten-down Astarta (AST) added 2.2% to PLN 16.15.
The hryvnia finally showed some strength last week for the first time since the New Year, regaining 2.1% to 24.52 UAH/USD after the National Bank reported that its foreign currency reserves increased by USD 1.0bn to USD 26.3bn in January.
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