Ukrainian lawmakers approved President Viktor Yanukovych’s candidate to head the central bank as the former Soviet republic prepares to welcome International Monetary Fund officials for talks over a new bailout this month.
A bill nominating Ihor Sorkin, named acting governor after Serhiy Arbuzov was promoted to first deputy prime minister in December, was backed by 231 lawmakers in the 450-seat legislature in the capital, Kiev. Parliament yesterday failed to back a decree dismissing Arbuzov and appointing Sorkin as 30 deputies were absent.
“One of the main tasks is to cut loan and deposit interest rates,” Sorkin, 45, told Parliament today. “The central bank will also deepen its cooperation with international organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank.”
Ukraine is seeking international aid for the third time since 2008 as its economy loses steam because of weaker demand for exports such as steel. The IMF postponed a December trip to Ukraine until mid-January to allow a new cabinet to be chosen. Yanukovych’s Party of Regions fell short of securing a majority in winning October parliamentary elections.
The hryvnia rebounded to 8.1213 per dollar as of 5:13 p.m. in Kiev after falling to 8.1985 earlier today, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
An IMF mission will arrive in Kiev Jan. 24, Sorkin told reporters. The fund said in an e-mailed statement that the visit should take place “in the near future,” though a date hasn’t been set.
The Washington-based lender has urged Ukraine to move toward a more flexible exchange rate, which the central bank manages by buying and selling foreign currency. Selling pressure on the hryvnia helped trigger a 23 percent plunge in foreign reserves last year to $24.5 billion, the lowest since February 2010.
Sorkin was born in the eastern city of Donetsk in Yanukovych’s native region. He was named deputy central bank governor in July 2010, leading the regulator’s supervisory department. Sorkin’s father, Viacheslav, is first deputy head of OAO Gazprom’s investment department, according to the Russian natural gas monopoly’s website.
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