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  • Real Estate: ATB to Invest $410 million
  • Poles to Fund 60% of Lviv’s IT Park
  • Defying E-Commerce, 6 Shopping Centers to Open in Kyiv
  • Offices May Shrink
  • Cut Off From EU, Ukrainians May Vacation Locally This Summer

 

ATB supermarket chain plans to invest $410 million in its expansion in the Ukrainian market this year, said Boris Markov, ATB General Director, in a company press release. Claiming to be Ukraine’s fastest growing supermarket chain, ATB said that it invested $370 million in its expansion during 2020, opening 127 new stores. Its retail network extends to all 24 regions of Ukraine, and ATB has a total of 1,216 stores in 313 towns and cities. The company has estimated that 4 million Ukrainians – more than 10% of Ukraine’s adults population – shop at ATB.

Poland’s BGK Bank has agreed to fund 60% of the first phase of Lviv’s Innovation District IT Park, the technology park has reported. The State-owned Bank, Gospodarstwa Krajowego, will loan €81.5 million for the €136 million first phase of development. With a first phase expected to be completed by of end 2023, the general contractor will be Unibep, one of Poland’s largest construction companies. Spreading over a 10-hectare site which is located 4 km south of Rynok Square, the Park will feature research laboratories and offices for 10,000 IT workers and students. Companies that have already reserved space include: GlobalLogic, N-iX, Intellias, SoftServe and Perfectial.


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In Lviv, the continuing investment in property development includes the construction of a business and city administrative center on a prime 7-hectare lot which had previously been a military base, the Lviv City Council has announced. The triangular lot which is located 1.7 kilometerss west of Rynok Square, is to become a mixed use area.  The project will include a park, a business center, a congress hall and a new administrative building for the City Council, (Interfax-Ukraine).  On the site, bounded by Horodotska, Taras Shevchenko and Yaroslav Mudry streets, City Architect Anton Kolomeytsev has proposed to repurpose the site’s historic, Habsburg-era buildings to new uses.

While shopping malls close in the US, they have a future in Ukraine, said Sergiy Sergiyenko, Managing Partner of CBRE Ukraine, (Kyiv Post). “Living in Kyiv and Ukraine, in general, there are no quality public spaces in winter…So, people go out and go to a mall,” he said adding that in Kyiv residents travel to malls using mass transit. “Malls are places for hanging out, for window-shopping or for trying on clothes. They may not be so profitable, but they still continue to be used…Rental rates in shopping malls did get hammered, but they will recover gradually.”

During the pandemic year, online shopping increased by 26% and shopping mall rents softened. Despite these conditions 20 new malls are expected to open across Ukraine by the end of next year. This will add a total of 1.8 million square meters of leasable area, reported the Kyiv Post. This year, Kyiv is to see the openings of Ocean Mall with 100,000 square meters and Blockbuster Phase 3, with 55,000 square meters. Next year, if construction plans hold up, five new malls are to open in Kyiv, adding 173,000 square meters of retail space.

The e-commerce boom pushed Kyiv warehouse vacancy rates down from 30% to 2%, according to a new report by Cushman & Wakefield, the real estate consultancy. Although 85,000 square meters of new space were commissioned last year, rates have increased to $5.5 per square meter. “It is not enough to satisfy existing occupier demand,” said the report. This year, an additional 60,000 square meters are pipeline for 2021.

Retailers from neighboring Poland and Turkey aggressively court Ukrainian consumers, introducing their brands and opening stores, said Konstantin Oliynyk, UTG (Interfax-Ukraine). Brands from Poland include:  LPP, Sinsay, CROPP, House, MOHITO, Reserved. Turkish retail brands include: DeFacto, LC Waikiki, and FLO.

Remote working will cause a 25% shrinkage of Kyiv’s ‘office footprint’ by 2024, predicted Sergiyenko of CBRE, (Kyiv Post). “In other words, if there are 2 million square meters in total supply — 400,000 to 500,000 square meters will be vacated,” he says. However, he cautions: Offices are not going away. They are places for ideas, collaboration, socializing. A company is a social entity.”

Kyiv’s office vacancy rate doubled last year, to 11%, the highest level since 2014. In turn, rents fell by 10 to 20%, reported the Kyiv Post. Faced with uncertainty in the pandemic year, CBRE Ukraine said that developers offered only 125,000 square meters of new office space — half the initial plan. This year, Cushman & Wakefield has predicted that 160,000 square meters in new office space will come on the market in Kyiv. Total current supply is 2 million square meters.

Rents are softening during the April lockdown, with discounts up to 30% expected, said Yuri Pita, President of the Association of Realtors of Ukraine, (Interfax-Ukraine). Assuming the coronavirus pandemic ebbs in May, rents will stabilize. However, he adds: “In the face of accelerating inflation, the cost of rent can increase by an average of 5-7%.”

Ukraine’s real estate magnates were recently ranked by Forbes Ukraine. The top eight are:

  • Viktor Polishchuk, owner of Gulliver and the Eldorado retail chain.  $70 million
  • Vagif Aliyev, developer of Blockbuster Mall, Lavina Mall, and Mandarin Plaza.  $61 million
  • Tomas Fiala, founder/CEO of Dragon Capital, which owns six shopping centers, 10 warehouse complexes and 13 office buildings. $54 million
  • Alexander Yaroslavsky, owner of Caravan shopping mall chain and Kharkiv Palace Hotel. $46 million
  • Adnan Kivan, owner Kadorr Group. $45 million.
  • Roman Lunin, Equator shopping malls. $35 million
  • Rinat Akhmetov, TSUM, Leonardo Business Center, Opera Hotel, Ukrtelecom real estate. $32 million.
  • Garik Korogodsky and Oleksandr Melamud, owners Dream Town malls. $32 million

With the EU closed to Ukrainian tourists, local beach and rural retreat hotels may enjoy another boom this summer. Vodafone has reported that analytics of cell phone users showed a 30% yoy increase last summer at Ukrainian beach resorts. On the Azov, one hamlet, Bilosarayska Kosa, about 20 kilometers west of Mariupol, saw a 177% yoy increase. Last summer, while Kyiv hotels saw occupancy rates fall to 23%, seven countryside hotels reported revenue increases, reports the Ukrainian Hotel and Resort Association. More recently, during the December-January holidays, Carpathian mountain resort hotels enjoyed almost 100% occupancies, Artur Lupashko, founder of Ribas Hotels Group, told Interfax-Ukraine.

 

 

  • Ships and Airplanes: Dnipro Shipping Season Has Strong Start
  • From Kyiv to Qatar by Ship
  • Danube Shipping Co. Makes $200 Million Bid for Dnipro Cargo
  • Nibulon and SMG Revive Black Sea Shipbuilding
  • Coming Soon: River Cruise to Chornobyl
  • Boryspil Air Traffic Drops in Half

 

Dnipro River shipping traffic in the first quarter increased by 66%, over the first quarter of 2020, reported the Sea Ports Administration. Of the 1.8 million tons, the cargoes were: construction materials +79% to 1 million tons; grain + 33% to 587,000 tons; and metals +280% to 171,000 tons. The winter season is characterized by short haul barge trips. On March 10, the full river opened to shipping, with all locks working between Nova Kakhovka and the Kyiv Sea.

Shipping cargo from the Persian Gulf to Kyiv is this summer’s schedule for Kherson’s Argo Shipping, reported the Agrologistics website. With a fleet of nine sea-river ships, Argo already takes cargo from Zaporizhia to Greece, Italy and France. Last summer, its vessel MV Porada carried 2,000 tons of Turkish cement to Ukrainka, a Dnipro port 40 km downriver from Kyiv. Last year Argo carried 710,000 tons of cargo on the Dnipro, a 30% increase over 2019 volumes. Argo Commercial Director, Alexander Nikulin said: “This year, we have already received requests from charterers to operate cargo trips from the Persian Gulf countries to Kyiv.”

The state-owned Ukrainian Danube Shipping Company is pursuing a $200 million ship investment program that would allow it to increase its capacity to carry 4 million tons of cargo on the Dnipro, a 40% increase over the river’s 2019 cargo level. In a first step, the parent agency, the Infrastructure Ministry, has endorsed the Danube Shipping’s plan to build 16 tugs and 31 barges for use on the Dnipro. The Ministry also promised to transfer to the company its river ports and terminals. Danube Shipping is in negotiations with the EBRD and other international financial institutions to secure low interest financing. By replacing trucks on the highways, river transportation bonds and loans often are considered ‘green.’

Nibulon, the largest private shipper on Ukraine’s rivers, has launched its sixth NBL-91, or low draft barge. Drawing only four meters, the barge can carry down the Southern Bug loads of grain up to 3,000 tons. With six of these barges, Nibulon’s river fleet now numbers 85 vessels, most of them produced at the company’s shipyard in Mykolaiv.

The company is building five river-sea patrol boats under contract with France’s OCEA, said the French Ambassador to Ukraine, Etienne de Poncins. The first of the aluminum, high speed boats is to be delivered by the end of 2021. The Nibulon contract is part of a 20-boat, €136 million deal that is 85% financed by the French Treasury and Bpifrance, the state-owned investment bank.

SMG’s Kherson shipyard is modernizing four dry cargo vessels for EemsWerken NV of the Netherlands. Last year, Smart Maritime Group, which unites Kherson and Mykolaiv shipyards, built hulls for two Dutch chemical tankers and modernized and repaired 55 vessels.

This summer, the Rada is to approve creating a fund to pay for the government’s multi-billion dollar plan to renovate the Dnipro locks – and to triple river cargo, to 30 million tons a year, Infrastructure Minister Krikliy said at a recent meeting the European Business Association. The State Fund for Inland Waterways is modeled on the three-year-old Ukrainian State Road Fund, which draws on user fees to guarantee money for road repair and construction.

Construction of the Istanbul Canal is to start this summer, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reported Anadolu Agency. Erdogan promised to have the canal open in time for the October 29, 2023 Centennial of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic. The 45 km canal is designed to carry 160 ships a day, the same volume that travels today through the Bosporus which passes through central Istanbul. Designed in part to handle dangerous cargo, the Istanbul Canal is expected to open the Black Sea to LNG cargoes from the Gulf.

Commencing this week, five passenger boats will ply the Dnipro from Kherson, taking residents to their dachas and tourists on day trips through the river delta, reports the city transit agency, Khersonkommuntransservice. With a six-month season, river tourism is increasingly popular in Kherson.

Dnipro day trips from Kyiv – north to Chornobyl and south to Kaniv – will also be developed, said Infrastructure Minister, Vladyslav Krykliy, in a recent online forum dedicated to reviving river tourism in Ukraine. “The restoration of inland waterways is not only about increasing cargo traffic on the river, but also about the development of passenger river transport,” Krykliy said. Chornobyl, a major international tourism destination, is 100 km upriver from the Kyiv Hydroelectric Station. Kaniv, home of the hillside grave of Taras Shevchenko, is about 130 km downriver from Kyiv’s River Station, in Podil.

Kyiv Boryspil, Ukraine’s busiest airport, handled one half the passengers in the first quarter of 2021 compared to January-March 2020, the airport reported. Of the 1.2 million passengers, 47.5% flew on charters, a big increase over last year. The top 5 destinations for all travelers in March alone were: Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Istanbul, Dubai, Minsk. With the suspension of UIA’s long haul route network, transit passengers dropped by 90.5% – to 36,900 for the quarter.  

Boryspil’s air cargo traffic dropped by 12% in the first quarter of 2021, the airport reported. Of the nearly 9,000 tons of cargo, 71% was inbound. Cargo for export dropped by 27%, to 2,560 tons.

The number of flights through Ukraine’s airspace in March was down 43% yoy, to 12,160, reported UkSATSE, the air traffic control agency. This is an improvement over the 58% drop registered in 2020 and the 56% drop registered in February. Looking ahead to summer travel to the EU, Andriy Yarmak, the agency head, cautioned: “With regards to the restoration of traffic to Europe, it is quite difficult to make accurate forecasts for the liberalization of border crossing rules, given the introduction of strict restrictive measures in connection with the third wave of coronavirus.”

This summer work starts on a $66 million program to upgrade Bila Tserkva airport into an international air cargo center, reported Interfax-Ukraine. Located 80 km southwest of Kyiv’s Ring Road, Bila Tservka is to win a multimodal cargo complex, a passenger terminal, hangars for an aircraft maintenance center, runway repairs and new lights and radio equipment for landings. Work is underway to upgrade the former military airfield to international status.

 

 

  • Qatar-UDP Ink $250 million Solar/Wind Deal
  • Smartphone Sales Surged 6% Last Year
  • Analysts: March Inflation Hits 8%
  • Seaport Cargo Drops 20%

 

Qatar’s Nebras Power and Kyiv’s UDP Renewables have entered into a consortium.  It’s designed to yield up to $250 million in joint investment in Ukrainian solar and wind plants by the end of next year, said Sergiy Yevtushenko, UDP’s co-founder and managing partner, on Facebook. Yevtushenko wrote, Nebras, a state-owned company, will buy control of six solar stations, noting Monday’s deal comes after two years of negotiations. He added: “The next stage of the partnership will be the implementation of new wind power projects which will create new capacity in ‘green’ energy to provide for the needs of about 310,000 average households.”

Beyond “ensuring Qatar’s food security,” Ukraine is discussing using Qatar as a logistics hub to supply food to the region, said Ihor Zhovka, Deputy Presidential Chief of staff, (Ukrinform). Reviewing President Zelenskiy’s one day visit to Doha, Zhovka said: “During the talks, the leaders discussed the possibility of using Qatar’s logistics network to supply Ukrainian food to other countries in the region.” Doha’s Hamad Port and Hamad International Airport are amongst the busiest in the Gulf. President Zelenskiy also encouraged expanding flight connections beyond the current lone flight – Qatar Airways between Doha and Kyiv Boryspil.

The total value of mergers and acquisitions in Ukraine in 2020 dropped by 62%, falling below $1 billion. The number of M&A deals was 69, down 15% in comparison to 2019, according to a report issued by KPMG. Although deals are off to a slow start this year, the report predicts: “Momentum will really start to build up in the second half of the year, with a brighter outlook beyond this.” The four main sectors are: IT, agriculture, real estate, and infrastructure.

Last year, Ukraine weathered the Covid recession comparatively well. According to figures compiled by Alfa-Bank Ukraine, the GDP drops for 2020 were: Poland – 2.8%; US – 3.5%; Ukraine – 4.1%; Germany – 5%; Czech – 5.6%; EU – 6.4%; France – 8.3%; Italy – 8.8%; and Spain – 11%.

Smartphone sales increased by 6% last year, to 6.9 million, reported the analytics firm, International Data Corporation. Sales dropped during the second quarter lockdown, then came back with a roar, increasing by 37% yoy in the last quarter of 2020. This year, IDC predicts moderate growth, with sales topping 7 million. With Ukrainian purchasing power low, the average price fell last year by $19, to $192. Partly due to a surge in sales of China’s Xiaomi, the ‘cheap’ share of Ukraine’s market grew last year from 62% to 71%.

Ukraine’s annual inflation will reach a 1.5-year high of 8% in March 2021, exceeding the Central Bank’s forecast of 7.6%, said a monthly Reuters poll of Ukrainian analysts. Analysts said consumer prices rose due to inflation imported from world commodity markets, notably wheat, corn, sunflower oil and crude oil. Oleksiy Blinov, Alfa-Bank Ukraine’s Head of Research, said: “These changes in external prices are directly and indirectly transmitted to consumer inflation in Ukraine.” The IMF has predicted that Ukraine’s consumer price index will end this year at 7.9%.

Forbes lists seven Ukrainians amongst its latest list of the world’s 2,755 billionaires. They are: Rinat Akhmetov – $7.6 billion; Viktor Pinchuk – $2.5 billion; Konstantin Zhevago – $2.3 billion; Igor Kolomoisky – $1.8 billion; Gennadiy Bogolyubov – $1.7 billion; Petro Poroshenko – $1.7 billion; and Vadym Novinsky – $1.4 billion.

Ukraine’s seaports handled 20.5% less cargo tonnage during the first quarter of this year than during the same January-March period last year, reported the Sea Ports Administration. The big factor in the drop to 33 million tons was a 37% decrease in grain export volumes, to 8.6 million tons. Ore exports were down by 12%, to 9 million tons. During the first quarter, ports handled 253,170 containers, almost a 5% yoy decrease. Despite these tonnage drops, Ukraine’s exports were up by 12% in the first quarter, to $13.75 billion.

Corn exports are down 25% yoy in the first half of the October-September 2020 marketing season, reported APK-Inform. Of the 15.9 million tons exported so far, the top markets were: China – 6 million tons; EU – 5 million tons; and Egypt – 1.7 million tons. This year, Ukraine is expected to export 23 million tons of its 30-million-ton crop. Poor weather and reduced plantings depressed the harvest.

Boycotting Belarusian buses, Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi says he will not accept the results of a European Investment Bank tender that awards the contract for 100 buses to MAZ, the Belarus company. “We have no right to finance the regime,” he said, referring to widespread popular resistance to self-appointed ruler Alexander Lukashenko. “We have Ukrainian producers who need support.” Ukraine’s big bus manufacturers are Bogdan, Etalon, and Lviv’s Electron. “Why is this important?” asks Sadovyi. “Ukraine needs 30,000 units of public transport – billions of hryvnias and tens of thousands of jobs that will remain in Ukraine.”

 

 

  • Qatar-Ukraine Courtship Intensifies
  • EU-Ukraine Border Crossings Get Big Upgrades
  • Asphalt Diplomacy: Ukraine Paves All Roads to Hungary
  • Kyiv’s Corona Lockdown Spawns Massive Traffic Jams

 

Qatar Petroleum wants to supply LNG to Ukraine and help Ukraine develop its Black Sea gas, according to a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed in Doha by Saad bin Sherid Al-Kaabi, Energy Minister and the CEO of Qatar Petroleum, and Yuriy Vitrenko the Acting Energy Minister. Vitrenko said: “Qatar is one of the largest gas producers in the world and has valuable experience and significant financial resources to invest in gas exploration and production in Ukraine.”

President Zelenskiy said of the emerging energy relationship: “Ukraine is very interested in supplying liquefied natural gas, as well as working with Qatari specialists in the development of our Black Sea shelf. We have signed a memorandum between our states, and I think we will achieve results in this direction.”

Qatar’s state-owned Nebras Power signed an agreement with UDP Renewables to invest in Ukrainian solar plants which are planned for construction by the end of 2022. At the end of the investment cycle, Nebras will become owner of a controlling stake in the plants.

Qataris expressed an interest in buying or building hotels in Kyiv, Kherson region and Odesa, Zelenskiy said. To facilitate Qatari participation in Ukraine’s privatization campaign, Ukraine’s State Property Fund signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Qatar Investment Authority. The Authority has $345 billion of assets under management in diversified markets.

Financing for Qatar’s largest investment in Ukraine – Qterminals’ Olvia concession – was brought forward by another meeting in Doha. QTerminals is now on track to fulfill the $140 million investment contract that it signed in August 2020.

Capital investment by cross border investors in Ukraine decreased by $868 million last year, the first decline of Incoming Investment since 2015, Bohdan Danylyshyn, Chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine wrote on Facebook. He said: “The key reasons for the low interest of foreign investors in the Ukrainian economy are the weak and underdeveloped domestic market, the ongoing military conflict with the Russian Federation, as well as the low level of legal protection of investments.”

During the first quarter, the Central Bank of Ukraine purchased a net $220.5 million to smooth out foreign exchange fluctuations. As the hryvnia strengthened last week, the bank sold $50 million, reported the National Bank of Ukraine website. Since the start of the year, the hryvnia has appreciated by 2%, achieving the current rate of 27.8 hryvnia/dollar.

The Cabinet of Ministers has approved expenditure of $350 million to build 10 new customs checkpoints and to rebuild 25 old ones, the government portal has reported. Much of the funds originate from a Polish government loan to Ukraine to build border crossings with Poland. More than half of the loan will be used to buy and install video surveillance equipment, weighing and scanning systems. The Finance Ministry wrote that the goal is “the latest technical equipment, which minimizes the human factor in the inspection, and hence corruption risks.”

Ukraine-EU border crossings are in urgent need of upgrades, wrote Lesia Dubenko and Pavlo Kravchuk in a recent Atlantic Council piece of the Kyiv-based think tank Europe Without Barriers. “Kyiv must deliver on its promises and complete the renovation and construction of checkpoints funded by both the EU and Poland,” they wrote. In turn, the EU should compromise on several Schengen rules to allow Slovakia-Ukraine and Hungary-Ukraine joint border crossings. Increasingly important to the economies of the EU and Ukraine, Ukraine-EU land border registered a total of 32 million crossings in 2019.

To roll out the welcome mat to EU drivers, Ukravtodor is repairing and upgrading 250 km of roads to border checkpoints this summer, the highway agency reported on Facebook“Unfortunately, having crossed the borders of our state, it is expected that you meet a pothole,” Ukravtodor wrote. Almost all the work this year is being undertaken in Zakarpattia, repairing road connections to Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. Last year, 150 km of border roads were repaired. By 2023, the plan is to repair 600 km.

Roads leading to all five of Ukraine’s border crossings with Hungary are to be repaired. Talks are ongoing regarding an agreement to build a sixth crossing, at Dyida, and to repair the highway bridge over the Tisza River at the busiest crossing – Chop-Zahony. Last month, at the first meeting of the Ukrainian-Hungarian Joint Commission on Border Traffic Control they discussed: “increasing capacity, reducing queues, modernization of existing and construction of new crossing points, as well as prospects for the introduction of joint border control on the Ukrainian-Hungarian border,” wrote Lyubov Nepop, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Hungary on Facebook.

Lemtrans, owner of Ukraine’s largest private rail car fleet, is investing $15 million to create a logistics hub at Mostyska, Ukraine’s Lviv region border town with Poland. By the end of this year, this ‘Dry Port’ will allow shippers to switch container between trains on Soviet gauge tracks and trains on EU gauge tracks. Referring to the growth of freight train traffic from China, Lemtrans General Director Vladimir Mezentsev told Interfax-Ukraine: “Such a project can give an impetus to the development of the entire industry of freight rail transportation in Ukraine.”

Ukraine’s restaurants and cafés lost almost 30% of their revenue last year, falling to about $500 million, the analytical group Restaurant of Ukraine reported on Facebook. The number of restaurants, cafes and bars fell by 21%, to 14,786.

Kyiv’s new lockdown has caused massive traffic jams, leading to traffic gridlock in westbound lanes on the four bridges across the Dnipro, delaying access to and from Kyiv Boryspil Airport. The Metro is to run during the 2-week lockdown, but access is limited to about 600,000 people working in ‘critical’ jobs. In addition to health care, these sectors include energy, chemical industry, transport, banking, telecommunications, food, and utilities. Employers are asked to shift to remote work as much as possible.

UIA resumes regular flights in June from Kyiv Boryspil to Batumi, Delhi, Jeddah, Nice, and Rome, according to the airline’s new summer schedule. Frequencies increase to Istanbul, Tel Aviv, and London’s two main airports, Heathrow, and Gatwick. Missing are flights to North America. UIA says it is postponing its relaunch of flights to New York and Toronto in the ‘3rd quarter’ – sometime in the July 1-Sept. 30 period.

 

 

  • Zelenskiy in Qatar
  • Food for Gas?
  • Brexit Boost: Exports to UK up 38%
  • Less is More: Food, Metal Exports
  • World Bank Prepares Big IT Education Loan
  • Customs Purge Underway

 

President Zelenskiy traveled to Qatar, the gas-rich, agriculture-poor Gulf State. It was Zelenskiy’s second trip to the Gulf in two months, following a visit in February to Qatar’s eastern neighbor, the United Arab Emirates. Referring to a country with an economy the size of Ukraine’s but with only 2.8 million people, Presidential advisor Mykhailo Podolia told Ukrinform that Qatar “is one of the richest and most influential countries on the planet.”

Food exports and investment in food processing, irrigation and port logistics will be the topics for discussion with Qatar’s Emir, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and Prime Minister, Khalid bin Khalifa Al Thani, Agriculture Minister Roman Leshchenko told Ukrinform. In advance, talks have already taken place with Hassad Food, the agricultural investment arm of the Qatar Investment Authority. From its base in Doha, Hassan has invested $500 million in India for the production of rice and coffee and $500 million in Australia for the production of wheat and sheep.

With the world’s third largest natural gas reserves, after Russia and Iran, Qatar is looking at the Ukrainian market as a customer – either pipeline gas through LNG terminals in Croatia and Greece, or through eventual delivery of LNG through Turkey’s planned Istanbul Canal. The talks will touch on gas supply, joint investments in gas exploration in Ukraine and investment in infrastructure concession projects, Presidential Economic Advisor Tymofiy Milovanov told Ukrinform.

This week, a Ukrainian trade mission will visit South Africa, the second largest economy in Africa, after Nigeria, Lyubov Abdravitova, Ukraine’s Ambassador to South Africa, announced at the Ukrainian Prism conference. Trade Representative Taras Kachka will lead the mission, which runs from April 13 to 18, 2021. The last high level Ukrainian visit, by a foreign minister to the region, took place 20 years ago.

During the first quarter of Brexit, Ukraine’s exports to the UK increased by 38% yoy, with IT services emerging as the top sector, said Vadym Prystiako, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Britain during the Ukrainian Prism discussion.At this rate, Britain will become one of our main trade partners by the end of this year,” he said. Noting that the Britain is now one of the top five consumers of Ukrainian services, he added: “IT is now greater than the traditional groups, such as metal, agricultural products, oil.” On December 16 2020, two weeks before Brexit went into effect, the Rada ratified a new Free Trade and Strategic Partnership between Ukraine and the UK.

High steel and iron ore prices account for most of the 27% yoy jump in Ukraine’s exports of goods in March, wrote Alfa-Bank Ukraine. Steel export revenues were up 75% yoy and iron ore revenues were up 99% yoy. UkrMetalurgProm, the industry association, reported that in March the steel billet average export price was up 73% yoy and the rebar price was up 70%.

“In the food & agriculture segment, higher prices have been offset by lower volumes, resulting in a 3.3% yoy total decrease in exports,” writes Oleksiy Blinov, Alfa’s research head. “Sunflower volume exports are up only 1.5% yoy in March, but the export price has more than doubled.” Similarly, higher grain export prices have compensated for a 23% yoy drop in grain export volumes.

The government’s ‘Big Construction’ program will invest in infrastructure for four industrial parks this year, Oleksiy Chernyshov, Minister for Community and Territorial Development, says according the government website. The announcement came at a meeting with Dragon Capital, which is building two industrial parks. The Ministry will spend almost $3 million this year on industrial parks, 10 times the amount spent in the last five years. By definition, an industrial park can contain factories, ports, warehouses.

The World Bank is discussing a $200 million loan for improving IT higher education, the Finance Ministry wrote on Facebook. The funds will be spent on computers and to tailoring university curricula to real world employer needs. The Digital Transformation Ministry has set a goal of doubling the number of Ukrainian IT specialists, to 500,000 by 2024.

London-based VR Capital is investing €75 million to buy three wind power plants with a total design capacity of 49.5 MW in Odesa’s Bessarabia region. The seller, Metropoliya Group, is to continue technical support of the projects until they enter commercial operation next year, VR Capital said. In addition, VR’s Elementum Energy Ukraine is building a 100 MW wind farm in a different part of the Odesa region. Elementum owns 28 solar stations with a total capacity of 536 MW.

The National Security and Defense Council has purged 100 customs officials, frozen the assets of the nation’s “top 10” smugglers and 68 of their companies, and is preparing laws to criminalize “inaccurate customs declarations,” the President said in his speech. Behind the drive is an estimate that smuggling costs the treasury $10 billion a year in lost import duties. “This is economic terrorism against Ukraine,” Zelenskiy said, referring to the lost revenue. “The fight against smuggling will be continued. Today it is the top 10, but it certainly not be the last.”

Ukraine scores on the low end for coronavirus deaths, compared to its EU neighbors Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, according to the Worldometer running tally of infections and deaths. A BBC Eastern Europe coronavirus roundup shows Ukraine far behind in vaccinations. Poland, Czech and Slovakia are near the EU average – 16 jabs for every 100 people. Hungary is at 29.5. Ukraine is at 0.6. Zelenskiy gave his government one week to draw up a plan to vaccinate most adults by the end of this year.

 

 

Upcoming events:

JCC Ukraine Chapter Webinar

“Ukraine’s Energy Sector: New Opportunities”

April 20, 2021 (14:00-15:00 CET)

Speaker: Vitaliy Radchenko, Partner, Head of Energy & Projects, CMS Camaron McKenna Nabarro Olswang

Moderation: Sven Henniger, Partner, Henniger Winkelmann Consulting

Weitere Informationen und Anmeldung unter:

https://www.jointchambers.ch/jcc-events/jcc-ukraine-chapter-webinar-250.html

 

JCC Ukraine Chapter Webinar

“Ukraine’s Agriusiness: New Opportunities”

June 17, 2021 (14:00-15:00 CET)

Speaker: Gebhard Rogenhofer, Wurzelwerk GR GmbH

Moderation: Sven Henniger, Partner, Henniger Winkelmann Consulting

Weitere Informationen und Anmeldung unter:

https://www.jointchambers.ch/jcc-events/jcc-ukraine-chapter-webinar-250.html

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