Jan 22 - In a report published to today, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said it expected the government of Ukraine's gross financing needs, and those of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU, the central bank) to remain elevated over the medium term (see "No Medium-Term Respite For Ukraine's High External Financing Needs"). The main components of the gross financing needs are likely to remain the government's annual deficit and the servicing of domestic (local currency) government debt. In addition, a sharp increase in government and NBU foreign currency debt service to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) triggered a corresponding spike in external financing needs in 2012. We expect repayment of IMF loans to keep external financing needs at historically high levels in 2013-2017. As a result of this external debt service and the NBU's attempts to defend the exchange rate, foreign currency reserves at the NBU declined to $29 billion in October 2012 (latest available data) from $32 billion at the beginning of the year. The cost of both domestic and external government borrowing remains high. These factors contributed to our Dec. 7, 2012, lowering of our long-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on Ukraine to 'B' from 'B+'. The report is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect on the Global Credit Portal at www.globalcreditportal.com. If you are not a RatingsDirect subscriber, you may purchase a copy of the report by calling (1) 212-438-7280 or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Ratings information can also be found on Standard & Poor's public Web site by using the Ratings search box located in the left column at www.standardandpoors.com.