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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Investments in Ukraine Cut by Half This Year

KIEV -- In the latest sign of Ukraine's economic woes, foreign direct investment in the country shrank by half in the first six months of the year, and foreign trade fell by a quarter over the period, officials said Thursday.

The former Soviet republic received just $265 million in foreign investment in the first half of this year, which was 48.8 percent down from the corresponding period in 1998, the State Statistics Committee reported.

Ukraine, a nation of 50 million people, has been far less successful than its East European neighbors, such as Poland or the Czech Republic, in attracting outside investment.

Many foreign businesses have grown weary of the government's long delays in reforming the economy.

Last fall's crisis in neighboring Russia, Ukraine's main trade partner, also harmed the country, accelerating the economic decline just as it appeared to show signs of improvement.

The gross domestic product contracted by 3 percent in January to June 1999 against the same period last year, and the hryvna currency has lost more than half of its value since a year ago.

Long-term effects of the Russian crisis were also visible in foreign trade figures.

According to the State Statistics Committee, foreign trade dropped 25 percent in the first six months of this year, with exports falling 20 percent to $5.3 billion.

Imports fell by 29 percent to $5.5 billion, but the reduction allowed Ukraine to curb the trade deficit and ease the pressure on the hryvna.

Ukraine's economy has declined each year since the country gained independence after the 1991 Soviet collapse.

Analysts have predicted the economic situation could worsen in coming months as the country gets ready for presidential elections scheduled for October.