How much money has Kyiv received from the IMF since 2014? Less than you’d think.


In April 2014 Ukraine agreed a $17 billion bail-out with the IMF. Then in March 2015 Ukraine agreed a new, $17.5 billion dollar bail-out. You would be forgiven for thinking that in the last two years the IMF had disbursed $35-odd billion to Ukraine.

In reality, as it does to other countries, the IMF drip-feeds money; it does this in order to ensure that the conditionalities it sets down in the bail-out agreements are being followed.

Ukraine, particularly the finance ministry, is meeting some of these targets. It is embarking on a severe austerity programme (for which the hapless Mr Yatsenyuk is taking much of the criticism). Pensions have fallen by about 40% in real terms in the last two years and the number of teachers has been cut by about 15%. Austerity is highly likely to have cut into growth and reduced living standards.

The finance ministry has won plenty of plaudits from international creditors. But because the wider situation in Ukraine has been so unstable (there is a war going on, after all), in reality the IMF has only doled out about $11 billion in the last two years (see chart), ie, about a quarter of what you might assume. (The currency used in the chart is “special drawing rights”, an international reserve asset where 1 SDR is worth about $1.40.)