Ukraine growth shrank 7.5% in 'worst year since WWII'
Ukraine's central bank chief said on Tuesday that the strife-torn country's growth contracted by 7.5 percent in 2014, in its most painful year since World War II.
Central Bank head Valeria Gontareva added that the annual inflation rate had reached 21 percent by the end of November due to a deterioration of gold and hard currency reserves.
"Our country has not lived through such a difficult year since at least World War II," Gontareva told reporters.
"I think that what we have experienced this year will never happen again. Without question, we are looking forward to 2015 with optimism."
Gontareva's comments came a day after Ukraine's parliament approved an austerity budget for 2015 that should help unlock emergency assistance from the International Monetary Fund and other global lenders.
Ukraine's reserves more than halved in 2014 and dipped under $10 billion for the first time in five years as the authorities sought to prop up the local currency and fund their eight-month campaign against pro-Russian rebels in the industrial east.
The central bank eventually gave up its support for the hryvnia under pressure from the IMF. The currency has slipped from 8.24 to the dollar at the start of the year to 15.82 against the greenback on Tuesday morning.
© 2014 AFP