In September 2010, the net purchase of cash by the public (purchase minus sales) totaled USD 1.6 billion, of which only USD 500 million went to the bank accounts, while the rest went to offshore companies. In August 2010, net purchases were much smaller - USD 397 million, and only USD 150 million in July 2010.
Experts believe that the purchase of currency by the public continued in October 2010. "In response to rising inflation, the public traditionally responds with the purchase of foreign currency. Since in Ukraine the amount of national cash currency in circulation against GDP is nearly twice higher than that in any neighboring country, then the exchange rate of the hryvnia noticeably reacts to significant [currency] transactions conducted by the public," says Maryan Zablotsky, an analyst at Erste Bank.
However, exchange rate fluctuations are still insignificant: according to the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU), the average exchange rate of cash hryvnia in September 2010 stood at UAH 7.91-7.94/USD 1 (purchase and sale), while a month earlier it was UAH 7.87-7.90/USD 1. The devaluation of four kopecks over a month is clearly not a disaster compared to the devaluation of early 2009, when in February the U.S. currency soared by 20 kopecks (according to NBU data, while at certain exchange offices the growth was 30-40 kopecks).
In 2010, the public bought the currency slower than a year ago. According to the National Bank of Ukraine, the outflow of capital outside the banking system (in fact, the purchase of currency by the public) has totaled USD 3.16 billion since the beginning of this year, while last year it was USD 9.7 billion.
Bankers claim that there are currently no grounds for sharp devaluation similar to the collapse of the hryvnia in the autumn of 2008.
"The National Bank of Ukraine enters the market quite regularly, when it comes to significant fluctuations. In this case, I think that this approach is justified," said Maxim Davlad, head of the department for operations on the forex and monetary markets at OTP Bank. In particular, he sees no reason for the growth of the exchange rate to a mark of UAH 8.30/USD 1.
According to the calculations of bankers, from the beginning of this year to September, net foreign exchange inflows into Ukraine amounted to USD 6.4 billion, of which USD 4.7 billion accounted for new foreign loans by the government. The international currency reserves of the National Bank of Ukraine reached a mark of USD 34.6 billion, the pre-crisis level.
That is why, at least by the end of this year, bankers and analysts do not predict the devaluation. The forecast is single - about UAH 7.90/USD 1 (plus or minus two or three kopecks).
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