Semi-finished products

Most of the exports were sent to Bulgaria

In 2023, Ukrainian steel companies reduced exports of semi-finished products by 36.7% compared to 2022, to 1.203 million tons. Shipments of semi-finished products abroad decreased by 82.2%, or 5.57 million tons, compared to pre-war 2021. This is evidenced by data from the State Customs Service.

Revenue of domestic enterprises from the export of semi-finished products last year decreased by 48.9% compared to 2022 – to $608.52 million. Compared to 2021, the figure fell by 85.1%.

In December 2023, Ukraine exported 98.72 thousand tons of semi-finished products, up 40.7% month-on-month and 31.4% y/y. Export revenue for the month increased by 42.7% m/m and 5.9% y/y. The average monthly export volume of semi-finished products for the year amounted to 100.3 thousand tons, compared to 158.3 thousand tons in 2022.

In 2023, Bulgaria was the largest consumer of Ukrainian semi-finished products, accounting for 36.7% in monetary terms. Poland accounted for 23.01% of export shipments and Italy for 9.6%. In 2022, Bulgaria accounted for 26.5%, Poland – 14%, and Italy – 12.1%. At the same time, in 2021, the main export destinations for pig iron were Italy – 30.9%, Turkiye – 12.8%, and the Dominican Republic – 8%.

In 2023, Ukrainian steelmakers continued to operate in the face of limited logistics capabilities and unfavorable global market conditions. The main Ukrainian steel companies, Metinvest Group’s enterprises (Kametstal and Zaporizhstal) and ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih, operated last year at capacity utilization rates of 65-75% and 20-30%, respectively.

Increased utilization is not possible in the current environment due to logistical constraints. Seaports are not operating at full capacity. The main market for the company’s products is the European Union. Until recently, Ukrainian exporters had to compete with Russian producers who offered discounts on their products in the EU market.

In the 12th package of sanctions, which was adopted at the end of 2023, the EU introduced new and expanded existing restrictions on mining and metals products from Russia. In particular, the ban on imports of pig iron and mirror iron and direct reduced iron (DRI) from Russia was extended.

At the same time, the EU extended quotas on Russian slabs for another four years. In particular, the total quota for imports of Russian slabs from October 2024 to September 2028 is set at 8.5 million tons with a more detailed breakdown by period.

The previous sanctions on slab imports were imposed in October last year (as part of the 8th sanctions package), when it was decided that slab imports could continue until the end of September 2024.

As GMK Center reported earlier, in 2022 export of semi-finished products from Ukraine decreased by 72% compared to 2021 – to 1.89 million tons. In monetary terms, the export of semi-finished products fell by 70.9% y/y last year – to $1.19 billion. The main importers of Ukrainian semi-finished products in 2022 were Bulgaria (25.55%), Poland (13.97%) and Italy (12.13%).