MOODY'S LOWERS UKRAINE'S CREDIT RATING. Moody's Investors Service has downgraded Ukraine's rating for foreign-currency debts from B2 to B3 and for foreigncurrency bank deposits from B3 to Caa3, AP reported on 10 September. The U.S. agency cited "the depletion of Ukraine's foreign-currency reserves to dangerously low levels over the past few months," which, it said, suggests "an increase in the risk of default on [Ukraine's] foreign debt obligations." Moody's also did not share the government's optimism over the recent approval of a $2.2 billion loan by the IMF, saying the loan will only postpone a financial crisis if radical economic reform is not implemented. Meanwhile, Ukrainian Television reported on 10 September that Ukraine has obtained the first tranche, $257 million, of the IMF loan. JM

UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT REJECTS KUCHMA'S NOMINEE FOR PRIVATIZATION CHIEF. The leftist-dominated parliament on 10 September failed to approve the state privatization chief, raising doubts about the government's plans to speed up privatization in the country, AP reported. Oleksandr Bondar, Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma's nominee to head the State Property Fund, received 210 votes in the parliament, 16 fewer than the necessary simple majority. "We think that privatization and demonopolization are two levers that pushed Ukraine into abysmal ruin," Ukrainian Television quoted one communist deputy as saying after the vote. Petro Symonenko, leader of the Communist Party caucus, said privatization may still be continued if Kuchma nominates a communist to head the State Property Fund. JM