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Ukraine's Economy Plummeted By Nearly 10 Percent In 2015

An exchange office in the Kyiv's city center.
An exchange office in the Kyiv's city center.

Ukraine's battered economy shrank by 9.9 percent in 2015 due to implosions in the financial sector and consumer demand, the state statistics service reported on March 21.

The stunning fall last year followed a drop of nearly 7 percent in 2014, the year Russia annexed Crimea and Ukraine's war with Russia-backed separatists broke out in the east.

Last year's downturn was led by a 27.7 percent plunge in financial and insurance activity and a 16.8 percent fall in retail trade, the statistics agency said. The general services sector plummeted by 24.4 percent.

The only sector to grow was health services, which inched ahead by 2.3 percent.

Ukrainian consumers have been depressed by the loss of one-third of the value of Ukraine's currency, the hryvnia, against the U.S. dollar since 2014.

Ukraine's economy has also been hurt by a trade war with Russia, formerly its largest market for exports, and a drop in the global price of its wheat and steel exports.

Despite the economic tailspin, a political crisis has prevented the disbursement of critically needed aid from the International Monetary Fund.

Based on reporting by AFP and TASS