KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s international reserves grew to an 11-year high of $31.9 billion at the start of April thanks to foreign aid, lower demand for hard currency and moderately-sized payments on government debt, the central bank said on Thursday.
Ukraine faces an unprecedented budget deficit this year due to high military spending to fight off Russia’s invasion and it relies heavily on foreign financial aid to be able to fund public and humanitarian needs.
The central bank said it had received a total of $5.1 billion from Ukraine’s international partners, including funds from the United States, the European Union and Canada.
“This is the highest level in the past 11 years. The last time the reserves exceeded this mark was in Nov. 2011,” the bank said in a statement on its website.
The government paid $486.8 million to service its foreign debts in March. The amount included $409.3 million in interest payments on state treasury bills denominated in hard currency, the central bank said. Ukraine also paid $638.6 million to the International Monetary Fund.
The central bank said the demand for hard currency on the foreign exchange market was lower in March.
Ukraine’s hryvnia currency has been officially pegged at 36.57 to the dollar since summer 2022. The central bank intervenes regularly to support the local currency and reduce the gap between the official peg and cash market currency rate.
The central bank said the volumes of its interventions decreased for the third month in a row.
“Such a dynamic in March is due to several factors: seasonal, limits of unproductive capital outflow … and stabilization of exchange rate expectations,” it said.
The current amount of the international reserves is enough to cover 4.2 months of future imports, the bank said. The reserves stood at $28.9 billion at the start of the previous month.
(Reporting by Olena Harmash; editing by Tom Balmforth)