China surpassed the U.S. last year as the EU’s top trading partner,

China surpassed the U.S. last year as the EU’s top trading partner, Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, reported Monday. “In 2020, China was the EU’s main partner,” the agency reported. “This result was due to an increase in imports (+ 5.6%) and exports (+ 2.2%).” The EU’s trade deficit with China rose to $219 billion last year, from $199 billion in 2019. With more and more cargo moving by rail, Belarus and Ukraine are competing to win this transit traffic.

Metinvest, Ukraine’s largest private company, plans to increase its capital expenditures this year by about 25% yoy, to $800-850 million,

Metinvest, Ukraine’s largest private company, plans to increase its capital expenditures this year by about 25% yoy, to $800-850 million, Oleksandr Lyubarev, corporate finance and treasury director, said Tuesday in an analyst call on the company’s 2020 results. Thanks to strong steel prices, the integrated mining and steel conglomerate starts this year with a cash pile of $826 million. Metinvest’s EBITDA in 2020 increased by 74% YoY to $1.8bln. While mining was little changed, at $1.1 billion, metals contributed an

With China accounting for 80% of rare-earth imports into the U.S., Ukraine could benefit from Washington’s growing nervousness about supplies,

With China accounting for 80% of rare-earth imports into the U.S., Ukraine could benefit from Washington’s growing nervousness about supplies, mining experts say. Rare earths are essential for production of goods ranging from smart phones to fighter jets. “China is exploring whether it can hurt U.S. defense contractors by limiting supplies of rare-earth minerals that are critical to the industry,” the Financial Times reported Tuesday. Chinese rare earth producers told the FT that Chinese government officials had asked them how

Mining World.com argues

Mining World.com argues that Ukrainian miners focus on the easy pickings: vast deposits of high quality iron ore. “Ukraine is developing its raw material potential one-sidedly,” reports the website. “A limited range of minerals used in the coal–iron ore –steel chain. The industry still has untapped reserves of rare-earth materials left intact.”

“Ukraine harbors significant reserves of non-ferrous and rare-earth

“Ukraine harbors significant reserves of non-ferrous and rare-earth metals including unique deposits of beryllium, zirconium, tantalum, and a complex of phosphoric rare-earth and rare-metal ores,” reports MiningWorld.com. “Ukraine’s confirmed reserves of lithium are the largest in Europe. The country also has a real opportunity to enter the global market with pure and ultra-pure metals such as gallium, indium, thallium, lead, and tin…Ukraine just needs to harness its mineral resources to thrive. For this to happen, new technologies and large investments

“Deposits of less-common metals and rare-earth group are of special value,”

“Deposits of less-common metals and rare-earth group are of special value,” reads the World Data Center’s National Atlas of Ukraine. “Geologists have [mapped the] Perha deposit of beryllium in Zhytomyr Oblast, large Azov deposit of rare-earth group in Donetsk Oblast, Polokhivka and Stankuvate deposits of lithium in Kirovohrad Oblast.”

A Japan-Ukraine free trade pact and cooperation between the Japan Space Agency and Dnipro’s Pivdenne Design Bureau are on the horizon for the 2020s

A Japan-Ukraine free trade pact and cooperation between the Japan Space Agency and Dnipro’s Pivdenne Design Bureau are on the horizon for the 2020s, Serhiy Korsunsky, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Japan said Tuesday at a Kyiv forum on bilateral relations. “There have already been several dozen such meetings – this is the beginning of negotiations on a free trade agreement,” said Korsunsky, who arrived in Tokyo last fall. He said work is advanced on updating a Soviet-era convention on avoiding double

Canada and Ukraine plan to start talks this year to expand the 2017 Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement to cover services and investments,

Canada and Ukraine plan to start talks this year to expand the 2017 Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement to cover services and investments, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry reports. On Tuesday, Marc Garneau, Canada’s new Foreign Minister, had an extensive telephone call with Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, to review the bilateral relationship.

The Biden Administration “is reviewing US policy” toward Nord Stream 2

The Biden Administration “is reviewing US policy” toward Nord Stream 2, while letting a deadline for more sanctions to pass on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday from Washington. With US policy on the $11 billion Russia-Germany natural gas line apparently in flux, several US representatives wrote a letter yesterday to Secretary of State Antony Blinken demanding a briefing. The bipartisan letter warns: “If completed, Nord Stream 2 would enable the Putin regime to further weaponize Russia’s energy resources

Timothy Ash writes of compromise solutions aired in the last two days:

Timothy Ash writes of compromise solutions aired in the last two days: “These are not solutions but rather “sell outs” when viewed from Ukrainian perspective, which would bring the pipeline on stream. Surely the Biden team, which was supposedly going to be tough on Russia, are not going to sell Ukraine down the river or the tube at the first opportunity?”

With train passenger rider volumes at half the levels of one year ago, Ukrzaliznytsia plans to lay off 30,000 workers, about 11% of the 260,000 total

With train passenger rider volumes at half the levels of one year ago, Ukrzaliznytsia plans to lay off 30,000 workers, about 11% of the 260,000 total, Vadim Bubnyak, chairman of the Trade Union of Railway Workers and Transport Builders of Ukraine, told reporters Tuesday. Yesterday, employees of the state railroad staged a protest in front of the Cabinet of Ministers.

Aiming to introduce Wi-Fi Internet on all intercity trains

Aiming to introduce Wi-Fi Internet on all intercity trains, Ukrzaliznytsia plans to launch a pilot project shortly on one of the most popular routes – Kyiv-Kharkiv-Kyiv, announces Volodymyr Reznik, the railroad’s IT Director. “Intercity + trains are often used as offices on wheels, so in these trains it is first of all important to ensure high-quality Internet access,” he says. “If this project is successful, we will introduce Wi-Fi in all trains, ensuring uninterrupted communication throughout the journey of trains

Offering Ukraine as a transport corridor for shipment of goods between Turkey and Sweden

Offering Ukraine as a transport corridor for shipment of goods between Turkey and Sweden, Ukrzaliznytsia has proposed specific routes, Edwin Berzins, head of the railroad’s Liski terminal in Kyiv, told web conference co-sponsored with the Polish port of Gdansk: “Creating a new corridor between the Baltic and Black Seas.” He said last week: “We have proposed an exact calculated route — Turkey-Ukraine-Poland — together with partners in this project.”

Poland’s PKP Cargo wants to develop a border terminal at Medyk as a transit point for Europe’s East-West trade with China

Poland’s PKP Cargo wants to develop a border terminal at Medyk as a transit point for Europe’s East-West trade with China. Located three kilometers west of Lviv oblast, the Polish terminal has two parallel sets of tracks: EU gauge and the wider gauger of the former Soviet Union. “The company can reload containers that should appear in the near future, thanks to new intermodal lines from China through Ukraine,” Witold Strobel, a PKP board member, tells the Center for Transportation

PKP’s announcement is the latest China-oriented logistics investment planned for the 600 km Brest to Chop fault line

PKP’s announcement is the latest China-oriented logistics investment planned for the 600 km Brest to Chop fault line that marks the rail gauge break between Soviet broad gauge and EU narrow gauge. Prospects for China-Ukraine container traffic are so good that DHL Global Forwarding Greater China recently produced a promotional video, “Full Steam Ahead for China and Ukraine.”

Ukrainian resort hotels were almost entirely occupied during the Christmas-New Year holidays

Ukrainian resort hotels were almost entirely occupied during the Christmas-New Year holidays, Artur Lupashko, founder of the Ribas Hotels Group hotel chain, tells Interfax-Ukraine. Bukovel, the Carpathian mountain ski resort town, was 97% full, he said. Christina Kagui, head of resort hotels for Reikartz Hotel Group, said bookings were slow until the government assured the public that they would not be a Christmas-New Year lockdown. She said: “Official refutation of this information immediately stimulated the growth of bookings in all

In Ukraine

In Ukraine, electrification of the 95 km stretches of track between Kovel, Volyn’s rail hub and the Polish border was discussed yesterday in an online meeting between Infrastructure Minister Vladyslav Krikliy and local European Investment Bank head, Jean-Erik de Zagon. In a Soviet legacy, a broad-gauge track runs halfway across southern Poland to the Silesian steelmaking city of Sławków. The bi-national plan is to turn Sławków into a rail and road hub for containers in the China-EU trade.

President Zelenskiy yesterday failed for second time in one month to muster enough Rada votes to make Yuriy Vitrenko Energy Minister

President Zelenskiy yesterday failed for second time in one month to muster enough Rada votes to make Yuriy Vitrenko Energy Minister. Although Zelenskiy’s Servant of the People has a majority in parliament, Vitrenko won only 204 of the needed 226 to be ratified as minister. A reformist opposed to oligarchic influence in the energy industry, Vitrenko failed to win the votes of ruling party parliamentarians affiliated with Ihor Kolomoisky. Cheap electricity prices are keys to profitability of Kolomoisky’s aging and

Timothy Ash writes

Timothy Ash writes: “This is a reflection of Vitrenko’s background as a proven reformer, and strong adherent to market principles, plus also opposition from oligarchic business groups in the Rada…underlines the challenges for Zelensky pushing through a pro-reform/market agenda…if Zelensky wants to reinvigorate reform he is going to have to reconstitute his alliances in the Rada.”

The IMF mission will extend its online review of Ukraine’s $5 billion program for another 10 days

The IMF mission will extend its online review of Ukraine’s $5 billion program for another 10 days, reports Interfax-Ukraine.  “It’s crucial for us to stay within the IMF program,” Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko told Ukraine 24 TV yesterday. “We are in active talks…There are expectations that during this period we will finalize the memorandum.” With a freeze on gas prices scheduled to run until March 31, analysts predict that second quarter is the earliest the second tranche – probably for

Real wages rose by 10% last year, compared to 2019

Real wages rose by 10% last year, compared to 2019, reports the State Statistics Service. In nominal terms – without adjustments for inflation – December’s average salary was up 15.6% yoy. Nationwide, the average monthly salary was $506, almost three times the official minimum wage. Medical professionals enjoyed the biggest jump in salaries last year – 51%. Hotel and restaurant workers saw the worst performance – a 6% salary drop.

Kyiv had the highest salaries — $775 –

Kyiv had the highest salaries — $775 – double the level of Chernihiv, its north eastern neighbor. Chernihiv, had the nation’s lowest — $390. The regions with fastest growing salaries last year were: Ivano-Frankivsk +25.6%; Luhansk +25.2%; Ternopil +23.8%; Chernihiv, Chernivtsi and Sumy +23.4%; Rivne +21.9%; Kirovohrad +20.6%; Lviv +20.2%; Zhytomyr +20.1%, Khmelnytsky +19.4; and Zakarpattia +19.1%.

Ukrainian companies transported 11% less cargo last year compared to 2019

Ukrainian companies transported 11% less cargo last year compared to 2019, reports the State Statistics Service. Of the 600 million tons, Ukrzaliznytsia carried slightly over half – 305.5 million tons. The state railroad only a recorded a cargo drop of 2.4%. For the other modes of transport: trucks down 22%, to 191 million tons; river barges down 8%, to 5.6 million tons; airplanes down 6.7%, to 100,000 tons; and pipelines down 35%, to 58 billion cubic meters.

Passenger transportation dropped in half last year

Passenger transportation dropped in half last year, reports the State Statistics Service. Of the 54% yoy drop, the biggest was air travel, down 64%. Train travel was down 63%. Car, bus and city transport were down by around 40%. Dragon Capital writes: “The drop in passenger transportation last year was the steepest on record.”

Kyiv Sikorsky, Ukraine’s second busiest airport, saw its traffic plunge by 63% last year

Kyiv Sikorsky, Ukraine’s second busiest airport, saw its traffic plunge by 63% last year, compared to   2019, the airport reports. Heavily dependent on Wizz Air and on charter flights, the airport records that 98% of its 704.500 passengers flew internationally.

Air traffic in and out of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, dropped by 51% last year

Air traffic in and out of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, dropped by 51% last year, slightly better than the nationwide drop of 64%, reported the Center for Transportation Strategies. Worldwide, passenger traffic dropped by 60%, hitting the level of 2003, International Civil Aviation Organization reports in a study headlined: “2020 passenger totals drop 60 percent as COVID-19 assault on international mobility continues.” For Ukrainian travel agencies, sales volumes fell by 70%, Pavel Grigorash, executive director of the national Association of Travel Agencies, tells Economic

The number of Ukrainian tourists traveling abroad during the pandemic dropped by 70% — from 2.5 million in 2019 to 750,000 in 2020,

The number of Ukrainian tourists traveling abroad during the pandemic dropped by 70% — from 2.5 million in 2019 to 750,000 in 2020, Pavlo Hryhorash, chief executive of Ukraine’s Travel Agencies Association, told the Kyiv Post. Turkey and Egypt were the top two destinations.

Hotel, restaurants, bar and ‘creative industries’ lost about $3 billion

Hotel, restaurants, bar and ‘creative industries’ lost about $3 billion since coronavirus control were first imposed, in mid-March, says Kyrylo Kryvolap, coordinator of working group to develop the National Economic Strategy. Maryana Oleskiv, head of the State Agency for Tourism Development of Ukraine, estimates that tourism losses alone add up to over $2 billion.

In a bold bid for China-EU rail traffic, Poland’s PKP Cargo plans to invest $1 billion in a village on the border with Belarus

In a bold bid for China-EU rail traffic, Poland’s PKP Cargo plans to invest $1 billion in a village on the border with Belarus to create what the state company calls Europe’s largest and most modern and largest logistics center. With construction expected to start next year by PKP’s Cargotur unit, the center in Małaszewicze would handle at least two container trains an hour, according to Railway.supply news site.