Business news from Ukraine

US announces new aid package for Ukraine

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has announced a new $300 million military aid package for Ukraine, including artillery ammunition and HIMARS shells.

“I’m announcing a $300 million emergency security assistance package of weapons and equipment to address some of Ukraine’s most pressing needs,” Sullivan said at a briefing on Tuesday.

He noted that the opportunity to transfer the aid was made possible by “unanticipated cost savings” in contracts that the Defense Department had awarded to replace equipment that had already been sent to Ukraine.

Sullivan noted that the opportunity to transfer the aid was made possible by “unanticipated cost savings” from contracts the Defense Department had signed to replace equipment that had already been sent to Ukraine.

“To be very clear, we can use these cost savings to provide this modest amount of new security assistance right now without compromising the U.S. military. And the president has instructed his team to use those savings,” Sullivan explained.

The White House reported that the announced aid package, in particular, includes a large batch of artillery ammunition and GMLRS used in the M270 MLRS and M142 HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems.

“This is the assistance Ukraine desperately needs to hold the front line against Russian attacks and to counter Russia’s ongoing offensive in eastern and other parts of Ukraine. This ammunition will keep Ukrainian forces firing for some time, but only for a short period,” he emphasized.

Sullivan added that this aid will not prevent Ukraine from running out of ammunition in the coming weeks.

“It goes without saying that this package does not and should not postpone the critical need to pass a bipartisan national security bill,” he emphasized.

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US Department of Energy has sharply raised its forecast for Brent price

The U.S. Department of Energy has sharply raised its forecast for the price of Brent crude oil for both 2024 and 2025 due to the extension of production restrictions by OPEC+ countries. According to a new report by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2024, the forecast for the price of Brent crude oil has been raised from $82.42/bbl to $87/bbl.

“As OPEC+ continues to cut oil production, we have lowered our 2024 global oil production growth forecast. The lower growth contributes to a significant reduction in global oil inventories in our forecast for the second quarter of 2024,” the report says.

The oil price forecast for 2025 has been raised from $79.48/bbl to $84.8/bbl.

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Ukraine increased pig iron exports by 5%, mainly to US

In January this year, Ukraine increased exports of processed pig iron in physical terms by 5.3% year-on-year to 142,176 thousand tons from 135,073 thousand tons.

According to statistics released by the State Customs Service (SCS) on Friday, pig iron exports in monetary terms increased by 3.1% to $50.004 million from $48.513 million during the period under review.

At the same time, exports were carried out mainly to the United States (92.26% of supplies in monetary terms), Poland (3.88%) and France (2.52%).

In the first month of the year, Ukraine did not import pig iron, as it did in January 2023.

As reported, in 2023, Ukraine reduced pig iron exports in physical terms by 5.8% compared to 2022 – to 1 million 248.512 thousand tons, while exports in monetary terms decreased by 26.2% to $471.467 million. Deliveries were made mainly to Poland (51.91% of supplies in monetary terms), Spain (21.41%) and the United States (13.15%).

In 2023, Ukraine imported 154 tons of pig iron worth $156 thousand from Germany (42.31%), Brazil (41.67%) and Poland (16.03%), compared to 40 tons of pig iron worth $23 thousand in 2022.

In 2022, Ukraine reduced exports of processed pig iron by 59% in physical terms compared to the previous year to 1 million 325.275 thousand tons, and by 61.1% in monetary terms to $638.774 million.

In 2022, Ukraine imported 40 tons of pig iron worth $23 thousand, while in 2021 it imported 185 tons of pig iron worth $226 thousand. Exports were mainly to the United States (38.47% of supplies in monetary terms), Poland (32.91%) and Turkey (8.12%), while imports were made from Germany (100%).

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US allocates $250 mln in military aid to Ukraine

The United States has provided Ukraine with a $250 million military aid package, the Pentagon website reports.

“This announcement marks the fifty-fourth tranche of assistance that the Biden administration will provide to Ukraine from the Department of Defense’s stockpile beginning in August 2021,” the statement said.

The new aid package includes additional air defense equipment, artillery ammunition, anti-tank weapons, and other equipment to help Ukraine counter Russian aggression.

In particular, the package includes

– additional ammunition for NASAMS air defense systems;

– Stinger anti-aircraft missiles;

– air defense system components;

– additional ammunition for HIMARS;

– artillery shells of 155 mm and 105 mm caliber;

– optically tracked and wire guided tube-launched missiles (TOW);

– Javelin and AT-4 anti-tank systems;

– more than 15 million rounds of ammunition for small arms;

– explosive ammunition for clearing obstacles;

– spare parts, medical equipment, maintenance and other support equipment.

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Biden signs US defense budget

US President Joe Biden has signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which provides a record $886 billion for defense needs in fiscal year 2024, the White House said in a statement on Friday, December 22.
“The law authorizes appropriations for the fiscal year primarily for the Department of Defense, national security programs of the Department of Energy, the Department of State, and the intelligence community. The law provides the critical authority we need to build the armed forces needed to deter future conflicts, and supports the service members, their spouses and families who carry out this mission every day,” the statement said.
As reported, on December 14, the US Senate approved a $886 billion defense bill, according to which a new position of special inspector general is to be created to monitor the use of military aid by Ukraine.
It was also reported that the Senate version of the budget included $300 million for Ukraine.

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Ukraine asks US for modern air defense systems, F-18 fighters and helicopters

The latest list of U.S. weapons that Ukraine needs to fight the Russian army includes modern air defense systems, F-18 fighters, drones, Apache and Blackhawk helicopters, Reuters reports, citing documents seen by the agency.

Ukrainian Defense Ministry officials presented a “list of weapons to meet the needs of Ukraine’s defense forces” during a closed-door session of a conference in Washington on Wednesday attended by government officials and defense industry executives.

The full list includes weapons that Ukraine already has in stock, such as Abrams tanks and 155mm artillery, as well as some weapons, such as F-16s, drones, and long-range ATACMS missiles, that it has requested in the past.

“But there are a few surprises on the list, including expensive items such as Boeing’s (BA.N) C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft and Lockheed Martin’s (LMT.N) C-130 Super Hercules. The list includes Apache attack helicopters, as well as the Black Hawk helicopter manufactured by Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky division,” the report said.

According to Reuters, the documents show that Ukraine is also requesting F-18 Hornet fighter jets, three types of General Atomics drones, including the MQ-9B Sky Guardian, and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system made by Lockheed.

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