10 Aug 2022 13:06

Russian aluminum products plant KUMZ sees export orders fall by half in Q2, eyes new markets

YEKATERINBURG. Aug 10 (Interfax) - Kamensk-Uralsky Metallurgical Plant (KUMZ), Russia's second largest manufacturer of high value-added aluminum products, saw export orders tumble by 40-50% in the second quarter of this year due to the changed external environment, the plant's general director, Andrei Bersenev said in an interview with Interfax.

Two main groups of restrictions on the plant's foreign trade activities affected its results: the ban on exports of rolled products (sheet, plate, strip) from Russia to the European Union and the imposition of high duties on imports from Russia in the United States, he said, remarking that the "markets of Europe and the U.S. had priority importance for KUMZ's export sector."

"The EU closed up, while the U.S. market increased import duties, making [KUMZ] products uncompetitive. Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and Japan try not to lag behind the EU and U.S. in applying sanctions, having jacked up duties, as well as Norway, which has completely closed its market to everything Russian," Bersenev said.

In 2021 and the first quarter of 2022, monthly exports amounted to an average of about 45% of the plant's commercial output, he said.

Now the plant is working systematically on redirecting exports to the markets of "friendly" countries, including in Southeast Asia, he said.

"The work is not easy, but gradually, step-by-step problems are solved. As a result of carried out measures, the portfolio of export orders in August amounted to at least 70% of the best figure this year, March. By the end of the year we plan to reach a level of export shipments of at least 90% of the amount of March 2022 shipments," Bersenev said.

The domestic market also becomes particularly important in the current situation, he said.

KUMZ manufactures products for the aerospace, oil and gas, construction and automotive industries.