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April 09, 2014 AT 5:59 AM
Much attention is being paid to Russia’s provocative actions in Eastern Ukraine, where Moscow-linked separatists have occupied government buildings and announced the creation of independent “people’s republics”. But even if the situation in Eastern Ukraine doesn’t entirely spin out of control, the country’s economy has already unraveled to the point that a substantial default is now essentially unavoidable. Moody's recently downgraded Ukraine‘s sovereign debt from ”extremely speculative” to “default imminent with little prospect for recovery”. Moody’s based its decision not just on the escalating political crisis, but on Ukraine’s rapidly dwindling foreign currency reserves, its exploding level of debt and full-year 2014 economic growth that is optimistically forecast to be somewhere between -3 and -4%.