What is 'UAH (Ukraine Hryvnia)'

UAH is the currency abbreviation for the Ukraine hryvnia, the currency for Ukraine. The hryvnia comprises 100 kopiyky, the plural of kopiyka, and is often presented with a symbol based on the cursive Ukrainian letter He, which looks like a backwards S, with a double horizontal stroke through the middle. The double strokes are seen on other currencies such as the euro and the yen because they symbolize stability. The currency is named for a unit of weight used in the Slavic region during medieval times.

BREAKING DOWN 'UAH (Ukraine Hryvnia)'

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the UAH became the national currency of Ukraine when it replaced the karbovanets because of the hyperinflation that occurred in the 1990s as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union. Initially, the currency was introduced at an exchange rate with the U.S. dollar of 1.76 Ukrainian hryvnia to one U.S. dollar. As of 2018, the currency has been devalued, with a rate of more than 26 UAH to one U.S. dollar.

Recent developments with the UAH (Ukraine Hryvnia)

As of April 2018, the hryvnia had strengthened against the U.S. dollar by 6.5 percent since the start of the year, according to the Ukrainian Independent Information Agency of News, or UNIAN. But while S&P improved Ukraine's GDP forecast for 2018, it lowered its expectations for the next two years, according to an April 2018 report, waiting in expectation for the hryvnia to strengthen in 2020 and beyond.

The report noted that the chance for economic recovery "continues to be driven by strengthening domestic demand, high commodity prices, and the economy's ability to quickly adapt to the Donbas trade blockade." It added that the "growth drivers in the Ukrainian economy will remain broadly unchanged, with domestic demand as the main contributor. Notwithstanding macroeconomic improvements, Ukrainian per capita wealth levels remain low."

An article published in May 2018 argued that the West, including the International Monetary Fund, needed to do more to support Ukraine's political system and economy, offering support and engagement to reform-minded politicians seeking to root out corrupt leaders.

"Wealthy businessmen dominate the parliament, but even so the parliament promulgates surprisingly reformist laws," UNIAN quoted Anders Aslund, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. "Ukraine has not stopped. It is fighting its internal battle over reform or corruption."

He added that, "unless the country receives IMF financing, it can hardly get through 2018 without a major depreciation of the Ukrainian hryvnia, which would be devastating in the 2019 elections. Politically, Ukraine needs Western support against Russian military aggression. This is well understood in Kyiv."

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