On 20 August 2015, the National Bank of Ukraine (the “NBU”) issued Regulation No. 544 (“Regulation 544”) and Regulation No. 551 (“Regulation 551”), both of which introduced amendments to the earlier NBU Regulation “On Regulating the Situation in the Monetary and Foreign Currency Markets of Ukraine” No. 354 dated 3 June 2015 (“Regulation 354”).
Payments Abroad under Individual Licences Allowed
Regulation 544 has broadened the list of exemptions when the transfer of foreign currency based on the NBU individual licences is allowed. Previously, such a transfer was only allowed in the following cases: (i) depositing foreign currency funds into bank accounts abroad by legal entities; (ii) payment by a guarantor (surety) under a guarantee (suretyship) securing obligations under a loan granted by an international financial institution or export-import agency; and (iii) payment of membership fees. Regulation 544 now allows transfers of foreign currency by legal entities in the amount not exceeding USD 50,000 (or the equivalent of this amount in other currencies) per one calendar month based on individual licence issued by the NBU. The liberalisation introduced by Regulation 544 should ease the day-to-day activities of businesses in Ukraine enabling them to fulfil their current foreign currency obligations. Regulation 544 came into effect on 21 August 2015.
Restrictions on Assignment of Foreign Currency Loans
Alongside the above mentioned liberalisation, the NBU has introduced some new restrictions affecting the possibility to assign foreign currency loans. Under Regulation 551 the NBU is prohibited from:
- registering amendments to the cross-border loan agreements on replacement of a lender and /or a borrower; and
- registering assignments of a loan by a Ukrainian lender to a non-resident lender under the foreign currency loan agreements entered into between the residents.
The above restrictions do not apply to: (i) the cross border loans where the borrower is a Ukrainian bank; and (ii) the agreements entered into by and between Ukrainian borrowers and certain international financial organisations such as European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IFC etc. In addition, the NBU is entitled to issue a separate approval for an assignment where it is between related entities. Regulation 551 is aimed at strengthening measures to prevent foreign currency outflow from the country. It came into effect on 22 August 2015.
Regulation 354 is in effect until 3 September 2015, but may be further extended by the NBU, at its discretion.
- Regulation of the National Bank of Ukraine “On Introducing Amendments to Regulation of National Bank of Ukraine No. 354 dated 3 June 2015” No. 551 dated 20 August 2015;
- Regulation of the National Bank of Ukraine “On Introducing Amendments to Regulation of National Bank of Ukraine No. 354 dated 3 June 2015” No. 544 dated 20 August 2015; and
- Regulation of the National Bank of Ukraine “On Regulating the Situation in the Monetary and Foreign Currency Markets of Ukraine” No. 354 dated 3 June 2015 (as amended).