- Chinese companies made the lowest price bids in six of seven tenders to drill 42 exploratory wells for the state gas production company, Ukrgazvydobuvannya, or UGV. Xinjiang Beiken Energy Engineering will drill 30 wells and Zhongman Petroleum and Natural Gas Group will drill six wells. In the ProZorro tenders, the Chinese underbid asking prices by 21-26%. Last fall, Xinjiang won another tender to drill 24 more wells for the gas company. After increasing drilling by 21% last year, UGV plans to double drilling this year. Ukraine’s largest gas producer, UGV has set a goal of increasing gas production by one third, hitting 20.1 billion cubic meters in 2020.
- Chinese buyers are canceling corn purchases from the U.S. and switching to Ukraine as Beijing tightens controls on processing genetically modified strains, Reuters reports from Beijing. Chinese grain mills are having a harder time getting permits to process GMO corn, forcing traders to turn to non-GMO shipments from Ukraine. “It is hard for U.S. corn to come in now due to the GMO issue. Getting the GMO processing permit is very difficult,” one corn trader in eastern China told Reuters. “I had only ordered 7,000 tons of U.S. corn, but had to cancel the order, and turned to Ukraine.” Of China’s 2.83 million tons of corn imports last year, U.S. supplied about one quarter and Ukraine supplied about two thirds.
- Ukraine’s grain crop was down 7.3% last year, to 61.3 million tons, according to the State Statistics Agency. Wheat held steady at 26.1 million tons. But, due to irregular rains, corn was down 14.1%, to 24.1 million tons, and barley was down 12.3%, to 8.3 million tons.
- Apple exports to the EU grew nine times over the last July to January season, APK-Inform reports citing Customs Statistics. Compensating for a poor harvest in Europe, Ukrainian apple exports hit 9,200 tons. Over all, Ukraine’s apple exports increased 2.3 times. The largest buyer in Belarus, taking 11,400 tons. Much of this produce is shipped on to Russia, which restricts direct import of fruit and vegetables from Ukraine.
- In a good economic indicator for 2018, cargo handled by Chornomorsk port was up 47.5% in January compared to January 2016. Exports were up 29%, to 1.4 million tons. Imports almost tripled, to 397,000 tons. Last year, cargo was up by 11.6% at this port near Odesa which handles bulk and container cargo.
- Imports of used cars tripled last year, to 72,900, just below the level of new car imports, 80,500, the State Fiscal Service reports. New car imports were up 28%. Used car imports jumped largely because import duties were cut in August 2016. Last year, about $2,800 was paid on each imported car, 28% less than the 2016 average.
- Eurocar, Ukraine’s lone functioning car plant, increased car production in January by 60% to 479 cars, compared to one year earlier, Ukravtoprom trade association reports. Located in Zakarpattia, on the border with Slovakia and Hungary, Eurocar produces a full line of Skoda cars.
- A $30 million, 36 MW solar power plant will be built with EBRD and World Bank loans at Ternovytsa, midway between Lviv city and the Polish border. The European Bank for Development and Reconstruction and the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund will loan the money to Zinoviy Kozitsky, a local energy entrepreneur, to build the plant on a brownfield site, an abandoned chemical plant. Later, the plant's capacity is to double to 72 MW. Earlier, the EBRD financed construction of two Kozitsky wind power stations near the Lviv region town of Stary Sambir.
- Belgium’s Upgrade Energy will build a 25-30 MW solar power plant in Zhytomyr region, the region’s press service reports. Land leases have been signed in the Irshansk area, about 160 km west of Kyiv. Design work has been started by Irshankaya SES, a company with investment by Estonia Energy Invest.
- A large Austria-Ukraine business forum will be held in Kyiv in mid-March, Kostiantyn Yeliseyev, deputy head of the Presidential Administration, told Inter TV channel Friday night. At that time, Austria’s President Alexander van der Bellen is to visit to Ukraine accompanied by company executives. Noting that Austria is major investor in Ukraine, Yeliseyev said: “The Austrian president will come with a powerful business delegation, and of course, our two presidents will open this business forum.”
- Ukrainians rank second in a list of “50 influential people of the Polish economy” made by a Polish newspaper. Gazeta Prawna hails Ukrainians as the “collective hero of the Polish economy,” placing them in importance between Poland’s Prime Minister and President. Noting Poland’s shrinking workforce and expanding economy, the “immigrants from the East soften and hinder demographic changes.” The newspaper says that in 2017, Polish employers filed statements of intent to hire 1.7 million Ukrainians, one third more than in 2016. Gazeta writes of Ukrainians: “It is for them the fastest and most popular form of employment. It allows you to work legally for half a year within 12 months.”
- Foreign banks lead the list of most profitable banks compiled by the National Bank of Ukraine. As measured in hryvnia, the most profitable banks were: Raiffeisen Bank Aval (UAH 4.47 billion); UkrSibbank (UAH 1.47 billion); Credit Agricole Bank (UAH 1.1 billion); Citibank (UAH 1 billion); Ukreximbank (UAH 929 billion); OTP Bank (UAH 918 million); FUIB (UAH 786 million); Alfa Bank (UAH 655 million); Ukrgasbank (UAH 624 million), and Sberbank (UAH 559 million).
- The biggest money losing banks were: PrivatBank (-UAH 22.97 billion); Prominvestbank (-UAH 7.67 billion); VTB Bank (-UAH 4.1 billion); Ukrsotsbank (-UAH 3.1 billion); Forward Bank (-UAH 639 million); BTA Bank (-UAH 563 million); Bank Credit Dnipro (-UAH 446 million); Bank Clearing House (-UAH 347 million); Pravex Bank (-UAH 110 million); and Misto Bank (-UAH 84 million).
- Inflation was 1.5% in January, compared to 1% in December, the State Statistics Service reports. Inflation in 2017 was 13.7%. At the end of January, 12-month inflation was 14.1%. In January, food and juice prices increased by 2%.
- To attract Ryanair, but placate Ukraine International Airlines, Kyiv’s Boryspil Airport has adopted a policy of discounting airport passenger fees and landing charges for new passengers and new flights. Discounts are to start at 80% and then be phased out over the next five years, or the airport reaching an annual passenger flow of 20 million, whichever comes first. Last year, the airport handled 10.6 million passengers. With this discount policy effective Feb. 1, Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan believes the stage is set for the arrival this year of Ryanair.
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UBJ a.m. is reported by UBJ Editor in Chief James Brooke, a former New York Times foreign correspondent and Bloomberg Moscow bureau chief. For comments and story tips, Brooke is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org