Iron Exports Double to $3 billion… Iron Miners Protest Plan to Boost Royalties…Covid’s Delta Variant Comes to Kyiv… Brits and Russians Could Be Barred… China-Ukraine Food Trade Up by 33%

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Prices for ore and metal products have peaked,  Yury Ryzhenkov, general director of Metinvest, Ukraine’s largest integrated metals company, told reporters yesterday at a press conference marking the company’s 15th anniversary. “Prices peaked at the end of May-June,” he said. “Now we are already seeing a decline in the market price for ore and metallurgical products. Most likely, the decline in prices for metallurgy will continue in the coming months.”

Metinvest and ArcelorMittal object to the Rada’s move to raise royalties on iron mined in Ukraine.  Metinvest’s Ryzhenkov says that the company paid $370 million in taxes during the first half of the year – seven times more than in the first half of last year. “The budget is getting more money today than before,” the company general director told reporters. “This whole super-cycle translates into net profit, from which we pay the rent.”

In Ukraine, Metinvest is planning to make high quality steel at its Illyich plant in Mariupol. Due to the lack of high quality steel, “there is no development of machine building or home appliances,” Ryzhenkov said. “It is impossible to attract a car manufacturer here.” In Italy, Metinvest is in advanced talks with Italian firm Danieli to build a rolling mill. Metinvest already has two steel plants in Italy – Metinvest Trametal and Ferriera Valsider, with a total annual capacity of 1.2 million tons.

The central bank council decided yesterday not te renew its 5-year contract with Dmytro Sologub, a deputy bank governor,  after it expires July 10. Sologub, a stalwart of the post-Maidan banking reform, is responsible for the Monetary Stability unit of the National Bank of Ukraine. This includes monetary policy, statistics, and international integration. On leaving the bank, Sologub will join the IMF to work in the Monetary and Capital Markets Department in Washington, he tells Ukrinform.

Two-way China-Ukraine trade in farm goods jumped by one third, to $5.7 billion, during the first four months of this year, compared to January-April of last year, reports Ukraine’s Economy Ministry. Chinese investment in Ukrainian fisheries and food processing plants was discussed yesterday at a bilateral agricultural cooperation meeting in Kyiv. The meeting was co-chaired by Ma Yusyan, China’s deputy minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and by Taras Kachka, Ukraine’s Trade Representative.

Ukraine is considering strengthening border controls over travelers from the Britain, India, Portugal and Russia to prevent the spread of Delta variant, the Health Minister Viktor Lyashko said yesterday. Only two weeks ago, as new infections started to dip below 1,000 a day, Ukraine relaxed travel requirements. With the Delta variant spreading in the UK, Britain recently delayed by one month a loosening of curbs, The Wall Street Journal writes in a piece headlined: “Covid-19 Delta Variant Threatens to Set Back Europe’s Recovery.”

Vaccinations seem to be effective against the Delta variant, or at least they minimize the impact. After a slow start, Ukraine is now vaccinating about 50,000 people a day at 90 mass vaccination centers across Ukraine. So far, 2.15 million vaccinations have been administered, covering about 6% of adults. About 7.7 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine are to be delivered to Ukraine in July, Chief State Sanitary Doctor Ihor Kuzin said yesterday at a panel titled “Why Ukrainians Don’t Want to Get Vaccinated.” U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer promises

For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit Ukraine 15 months ago, Kyiv Boryspil airport is opening all five of its passenger entrances and exits at Terminal D, the main terminal . “Summer is in full swing,” Georgy Zubko, the airport director, said yesterday. “The airport serves about 260 flights daily. The average daily passenger traffic exceeds 37,000 people.” All five entrances will be open from 8 am to 8 pm. At all times, only passengers with boarding passes may enter the airport. Boryspil handles about two thirds of Ukraine’s air traffic.

Editor’s Note: Crimean War II? A British Royal Navy destroyer, the HMS Defender, was steaming past Crimea’s Cape Fiolent yesterday morning, when a Russia coast guard vessel fired warning shots and then a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M jet dropped four fragmentation bombs in the Defender’s path. That is the Russian Defense Ministry’s version. The British Defense Ministry’s version is that the Russians were conducting gunnery exercise in the area, and the Defender was traveling in an international recognized shipping lane, from Odesa to

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