IMF and Ukraine reach tentative $5.5bn deal

Kristalina Georgieva Managing director of IMF. (Reuters)
Updated 08 December 2019

IMF and Ukraine reach tentative $5.5bn deal

  • The IMF and other international donors have repeatedly pressed Kiev to attract much-needed investment by addressing pervasive corruption

KIEV: The International Monetary Fund said it had reached a “staff-level” agreement with Ukraine on a new $5.5 billion, three-year aid program for the war-scarred country.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said she was “pleased to note that IMF staff has reached agreement with the authorities” on the deal, adding it was “subject to IMF management approval.”

Georgieva said she spoke by telephone on Saturday to President Volodymyr Zelensky and commended him on “impressive progress” on reforms and “sound economic policies.”

“The president and I agreed that Ukraine’s economic success depends crucially on strengthening the rule of law, enhancing the integrity of the judiciary, and reducing the role of vested interests,” she said.

She added that it was “paramount to safeguard the gains made in cleaning up the banking system and recover the large costs to the taxpayers from bank resolutions.”

The IMF and other international donors have repeatedly pressed Kiev to attract much-needed investment by addressing pervasive corruption and reducing the power of oligarchs. But bankers and analysts said they fear the current authorities are targeting former bankers who have helped clean up the market instead of the oligarch owners of banks that go bankrupt.

At his inauguration in May, the president urged people with Ukrainian heritage to return home.

The country is in the spotlight due to the impeachment proceedings against US President Donald Trump.

Trump is accused of abusing his office by pressuring Ukraine to find dirt on former US Vice President Joe Biden, his potential challenger in the 2020 election.

The White House maintains Trump was simply encouraging the new government of Ukraine to rein in corruption.

More than 13,000 people have been killed in Ukraine’s conflict with Russian-backed separatists in the industrial east which broke out shortly after Moscow annexed Crimea in 2014.


Google Cloud prepares for Black Friday ‘peak on top of peak’

Updated 04 August 2020

Google Cloud prepares for Black Friday ‘peak on top of peak’

  • Cloud technology, used to host websites and store data, is a key part of many retailers’ e-commerce operations

OAKLAND, California: Alphabet’s Google Cloud unit is poised for a surge in fourth-quarter sales from US retailers, as they brace for record online shopping during the holidays because of COVID-19 lockdowns.
Cloud technology, used to host websites and store data, is a key part of many retailers’ e-commerce operations. As fees are often pegged to site traffic, a jump in activity will drive up revenue for the unit.
Carrie Tharp, vice president of retail and consumer at Google Cloud, said that her team had this year tossed out its linear growth model to predict how many servers it will need to process web orders for retailers around Black Friday.
“We’re planning for peak on top of peak,” she said on Monday. That could be a boon for Google Cloud, which has generated about 30 percent of its revenue during the fourth quarter the last two years.
Stores such as Kohls Corp. and Wayfair Inc. lean on Google months in advance to ensure it has enough servers to withstand increased shopping during holiday discount days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday in November and December.
This year, Black Friday-style demand has flooded shops since March, when the United States began lockdowns, Tharp said.
Holiday shopping is expected to boost demand further, as retailers including Target Corp. and Walmart Inc. have said they will reduce in-store hours because of coronavirus concerns.
Tharp said the pandemic has already benefitted Google Cloud, with some retailers adopting its predictive algorithms years ahead of plan to help them work out the most efficient way of fulfilling orders.
Electronics retailer Best Buy Co., for instance, announced on Tuesday a multi-year deal to centralize customer and product data with Google Cloud to improve its loyalty program and online ad campaigns.
The companies declined to elaborate on the deal, but Tharp said she hopes it leads to Google eventually powering Best Buy’s web ordering system.