5 Aug 2009 14:28

Ukrainian steel industry boosts output 16% in July - Tymoshenko

KYIV. Aug 5 (Interfax) - Ukraine produced around 16% more steel in July than in June, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said at Wednesday's Cabinet meeting.

"We saw prices for Ukrainian semis and rolled products grow 15%-30% in June-July," Tymoshenko said.

This was largely thanks to the government's anti-crisis program, which has resulted in lower coking coal, natural gas and rail charges and faster VAT refunds, she said.

The steel industry brings in half of Ukraine's forex earnings and a large portion of the country's budget, Tymoshenko said.

The steel industry's performance indicates that the situation in industry as a whole could improve, she said.

The Industrial Policy Ministry has said Ukrainian steel roll production plummeted 37% year-on-year to 16.277 million tonnes in January-July 2009. However in July, daily production averaged at 86,300 tonnes, or significantly higher than the daily average of 76,800 tonnes for the seven months (but still some way below the daily average of 101,300 tonnes for 2008).

Steel industry output in Ukraine started to plummet in August last year due to a drop in demand, particularly in October-December. Some steel mills stopped some of their capacity. However some signs of improvement were seen in May.

Steel output fell 13% last year to 37.101 million tonnes.