Less than two weeks after the International Monetary Fund (IMF)announced a US$17.5 billion bailout loan for Ukraine, the centralbank tightened capital controls to prevent the country from runningout of foreign currency.

In spite of what has been pledged, Ukraine hasn't received amajor injection of IMF cash since a $1.4 billion disbursement onSept. 3, the lender's website shows. With its foreign reservesdropping 61 percent, to $6.4 billion, in the four months throughJanuary, the country's “cupboard is basically bare,” said TimothyAsh from Standard Bank Group Plc.

Central bank Governor Valeriya Gontareva announced new limits onthe amount of foreign exchange available to importers, and bannedbanks from lending money for clients to buy foreign currency. Morerestrictions may follow as the country's economy contracts amid adeadly conflict with pro-Russian rebels in the country's east,Gontareva said on Monday. The hryvnia fell as much as 11 percentper dollar and bonds tumbled.

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