3 keys to attracting more investment in Ukraine

DAVOS, Switzerland — During the Jan. 22-26 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, assessments varied of the state of the global economy.

International Monetary Fund managing partner Christine Lagarde kicked off the forum with an upbeat picture of the global economy in the near term, but cautioned that there were a number of risks over the longer term.

Certainly the global economy is witnessing a cyclical upturn: it is expected that 2017 global economic growth with reach 3 percent, up from 2.4 percent the year before. This growth has been driven mostly by increased investment, supported by incredibly low interest rates for a sustained period and vast asset purchases by the world’s largest central banks, which have accumulated $21.4 trillion in assets, or as much as a quarter of all bonds in issuance.

With the resulting demand for money so low and a constant search for higher yields, it is no surprise that equity valuations have climbed as investors take on more risk.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 has doubled in five years (compound annual growth of 15 percent) and emerging narket bond yields are beginning to look dubiously low with investor behavior showing signs of questionable exuberance (look at Argentina, a serial defaulter, successfully issuing a century bond last summer).

Ukraine has tapped into some of this exuberance by pulling off an impressive 15-year, $3 billion bond issuance in September.

Perhaps the strongest indicator that risk appetite among investors is getting out of hand is the meteoric rise of Bitcoin, an asset class backed by nothing but anonymity and a vast waste of energy through “mining.” The cryptocurrency bubble is now firmly on the radar of the world’s regulators and economists as shown by the air time it got this year at the World Economic Forum.

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