The Index of Economic Freedom: Estonia ahead of all the CEE countries

(The Heritage Foundation)

Ukraine will not import Russian electricity

Hungary plans to improve the personal bankruptcy law

CEE

The Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) released the Index of Economic Freedom 2017. The top five absolutely free countries in the world are Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia. Only one country from the CEE was listed among top ten countries – it was Estonia, which improved its result y/y and ranked 6th (in 2016 Estonia was 9th).  

The Index was launched in 1995 and it “evaluates countries in four broad policy areas that affect economic freedom: rule of law; government size; regulatory efficiency; and open markets. There are 12 specific categories: property rights, judicial effectiveness, government integrity, tax burden, government spending, fiscal health, business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom, trade freedom, investment freedom, and financial freedom. Scores in these categories are averaged to create an overall score”.

Most of the CEE countries are “mostly free”. And among them are: Lithuania as 16th, Latvia as 20th, Czech Republic as 28th, Macedonia as 31st, and Poland as 45th.

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Ukraine

The Interfax quotes Ihor Nasalyk, the Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister, saying Ukraine should never consider possibility of importing electricity from Russia. Nasalyk confirmed that 2016 was the first year when Ukraine stopped importing electricity from its eastern neighbour. He underlined even in the event of coal shortage, the country should not cooperate again with Russia in the field.

Mr. Nasalyk recalled the 2016 crisis “Moreover, when we had a critical situation in May and we wanted to receive it, as all neighbors signed the emergency help agreements, they refused to do this. I am sure that one should not even consider imports of electricity from Russia. We would do everything not to use it.”  

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At the same time assets of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) reached UAH940.6bn (EUR32.4bn). The Interfax reports it’s up 10.8 per cent y/y. According the NBU this is due to the increase of Ukraine's forex reserves – which amount to EUR14.6bn (up 17 per cent).

When it comes to assets in hryvnias (UAH), the data released by the NBU shows it dropped by 8 per cent, to UAH439bn (EUR15.1bn).

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Hungary

Teletrader informs only 659 Hungarian debtors took advantage of a personal bankruptcy status by the end of January 2017. The law was introduced on October 2016.

The debtor is eligible to file bankruptcy if generated total debts of more than HUF2m (EUR6,486) but less than HUF60m (EUR194,588). Total debts must exceed the value of the debtor’s combined assets and income, including income expected for the next five years, but may not exceed twice (200 per cent) that amount. One of the debts must be for HUF500,000 or more and outstanding for at least 90 days. During the bankruptcy protection period, a family trustee can inspect the debtor’s financial management at any time. The debtor is allowed to spend no more than 1.5 times the lowest old-age pension (currently HUF28,500, which is EUR92,43).

Hungarian officials – like Péter Harrach, a member of Hungary’s governing coalition party KDNP – claim the law should be improved so that more people would like to take advantage of it. Justice Minister László Trócsányi informed that his resort gathers information so that it could decide how to amend the rules. He will probably like to make the procedure easier for lenders to initiate. And he’d like to speed up the bankruptcy processes.  

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What’s up in indexes

BET (of Bucharest) increased from 7,600.68 index points Tuesday, February 14th to 7,656.56 index points Wednesday, February 15th. It was up 0.64 per cent d/d and up 24.78 per cent y/y.

BUX (of Budapest) increased from 33,725.00 index points Tuesday, February 14th to 33,982.00 index points Wednesday, February 15th. It was up 0.76 per cent d/d and up 47.33 per cent y/y.

CROBEX (of Zagreb) decreased from 2,168.85 index points Tuesday, February 14th to 2,166.44 index points Wednesday, February 15th. It was down 0.11 per cent d/d and up 39.01 per cent y/y.

OMXR (of Riga) decreased from 745.49 index points Tuesday, February 14th to 745.06 index points Wednesday, February 15th. It was down 0.06 per cent d/d and up 22.10 per cent y/y.

OMXT (of Tallinn) increased from 1,112.34 index points Tuesday, February 14th to 1,116.34 index points Wednesday, February 15th. It was up 0.36 per cent d/d and up 25.60 per cent y/y.

OMXV (of Vilnius) increased from 559.29 index points Tuesday, February 14th to 560.82 index points Wednesday, February 15th. It was up 0.28 per cent d/d and up 16.06 per cent y/y.

PX (of Prague) increased from 966.32 index points Tuesday, February 14th to 972.83 index points Wednesday, February 15th. It was up 0.67 per cent d/d and up 11.08 per cent y/y.

SAX (of Bratislava) decreased from 307.94 index points Tuesday, February 14th to 307.49 index points Wednesday, February 15th. It was down 0.15 per cent d/d and up 0.66 per cent y/y.

SOFIX (of Sofia) decreased from 600.74 index points Tuesday, February 14th to 593.56 index points Wednesday, February 15th. It was down 1.20 per cent d/d and up 33.59 per cent y/y.

UX (of Kyiv) increased from 932.55 index points Tuesday, February 14th to 941.64 index points Wednesday, February 15th. It was up 0.97 per cent d/d and up 50.51 per cent y/y.

WIG20 (of Warsaw) increased from 2,173.76 index points Tuesday, February 14th to 2,184.33 index points Wednesday, February 15th. It was up 0.49 per cent d/d and up 22.17 per cent y/y.

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