WORLD BANK TO CONSIDER $900 MILLION LOAN TO UKRAINE. The World Bank is planning to consider next week a $900 million loan to finance four projects in Ukraine's farming and coal sectors, Interfax and dpa reported on 7 September. Paul Siegelbaum, World Bank director for Ukraine and Belarus, said in Kyiv that the World Bank's assistance to Ukraine is now possible again because of the IMF's approval of a $2.2 billion loan. Siegelbaum added that the economic situation in Ukraine is better that in neighboring Russia because Ukraine has fewer debts and is less vulnerable to the worldwide drop in oil prices. He also noted that the Ukrainian government has taken appropriate steps to solve its economic problems. JM

UKRAINIAN CENTRAL BANK RESTRICTS HARD CURRENCY TRADING. National Bank Chairman Viktor Yushchenko said on 7 September that the central bank has limited hard currency trading to the Ukrainian Interbank Currency Exchange, Ukrainian Television reported. Exporters are now obliged to sell 75 percent of their hard-currency earnings on the exchange; the remaining 25 percent is to be paid into their accounts. The difference between the official exchange rate of the hryvnya and that used in cash operations with hard currency cannot exceed 5 percent. According to Yushchenko, these measures are aimed at "invigorating the circulation of hard currency" in Ukraine. JM

TRACECA CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS CONVERGE ON BAKU. The presidents of Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan arrived in Baku on 7 September to attend an EU-sponsored conference that will discuss the creation of a road, rail, and ferry network linking Central Asia and Europe via the Transcaucasus. Representatives from a total of 38 countries and 16 international organizations are attending. The Russian delegation is headed by CIS Executive Secretary Boris Berezovskii. Iran is represented by a deputy transport minister. Earlier, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami had said he would attend the meeting, according to Turan. LF