UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT SIGNS LAW ON RISE OF MINIMUM PENSION... Leonid Kuchma has signed a law raising the minimum monthly pension from 16.6 hryvni ($4.15) to 24.9 hryvni, AP reported on 3 August. The parliament adopted the law in mid-July after failing to overrule Kuchma's veto on a previous bill that would have raised the minimum monthly pension to 55 hryvni. Under the signed law, those pensioners receiving less than 46 hryvni a month will be paid a special living allowance of up to 21.1 hryvni. JM

...APPROVES PEACEKEEPING CONTINGENT TO KOSOVA. Kuchma also signed a law on sending 800 Ukrainian peacekeepers to Kosova (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 19 July 1999), AP reported. The Ukrainian Ministry said the contingent will include a 100-bed military hospital with a 246- strong personnel, a four-helicopter unit with 90 servicemen, a 108-strong logistics company with 17 armored vehicles, and a 356-strong motorized infantry battalion. The U.S. has pledged financial assistance to install the Ukrainian contingent in Kosova (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 August 1999). JM

UKRAINIAN CURRENCY SLIDES TO LOWER LIMIT OF TRADE BAND. Ukrainian commercial banks on 3 August were trading the hryvnya at 4.52-4.56 to $1, AP reported. Some traders even offered $4.6 hryvni for $1, reaching the lower limit of the government's trade band of 3.4-4.6 hryvni for $1, which was established in February and is valid until the end of 1999. National Bank Chairman Viktor Yushchenko has urged commercial bank directors to personally monitor the mandatory sale to the central bank of 50 percent of the foreign-currency profits of their customers residing in Ukraine. The National Bank, with its current reserves of some $1.3 billion, cannot undertake a large-scale intervention on the currency market, since Ukraine needs some $3.5 billion to service various debts by the end of 2000. JM

IMF MISSION LEAVES KYIV WITHOUT RECOMMENDING MORE MONEY. An IMF mission left Ukraine on 2 August without recommending the release of a new tranche of the IMF's $2.6 billion loan program, AP reported. An IMF statement summing up the mission's two weeks of work noted that so far this year tax revenues have been lower than expected, while recent tax legislation changes have further diminished expected revenues. The IMF promised to resume discussion with Ukraine at the end of August after the government takes steps to slash spending and increase budget revenues. JM