The Big Construction program and plans to increase the share of cement concrete roads in Ukraine give reason to hope for the growth of the cement industry, Director of the Ukrcement cement producers association Roman Skilsky has said.
“The main reason for optimism is the Big Construction program… This will mean a noticeable increase in demand for cement, which will allow domestic companies to increase the number of idle reserve capacities,” he said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
Skilsky said that early August, the Shulgin State Road Research Institute, together with Ukrainian Automobile Roads Agency of Ukraine (Ukravtodor), presented a concept and program for the construction of cement concrete roads in Ukraine, which envisage an increase in the number of such roads from 1% to 5% in the next five years. According to him, the process of approval of these documents by the relevant central executive authorities is underway.
At the same time, he said that in the Czech Republic the share of such roads is 22%, and in Germany – 42%.
The head of Ukrcement also counts on the positive impact of the law on the supply of construction products in the market on the industry. The document was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada on September 2 within the framework of European integration, which implements the provisions of Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 of the Council of Europe regarding construction products. Skilsky said that the industry harmonized national and European standards three years ago, but was forced to wait for this law. The document also introduces new rules in the field of public market supervision, which will significantly complicate the falsification of cement products.
In addition, the head of the association pins hopes on the investigation of the import of Portland cement and clinker cement from Turkey to Ukraine, launched early September by the Interdepartmental Commission on International Trade. According to him, this import increased 9-fold in 2019 and 13-fold in January-August 2020 versus January-August 2019, and by the end of the year it may exceed 1 million tonnes.
The head of Ukrcement explained such an increase in imports by a sharp reduction in Turkey’s domestic market, a strong weakening of the lira against the backdrop of a strong hryvnia and simple maritime logistics, and added that the Turkish cement industry is ten times larger than the Ukrainian one.
“The market in Ukraine is not growing, it has been fluctuating between 9.2-9.5 million tonnes for the third year in a row, so this deformation means worsening conditions for Ukrainian producers, and these are four large industrial groups, two of which are international,” Skilsky said.
He said that Ukrainian producers will be able to easily replace this volume of imports, and the replacement of Portland cement and clinker imported from Russia, Belarus and Moldova after the introduction of anti-dumping duties on the import of Portland cement and clinker from these countries last year is evidence of this.
“The cement industry can increase production further, the capacity reserve is sufficient for at least 20% growth. The question is whether there is a market for such growth,” the head of Ukrcement said.
He said that at the beginning of 2020 there was hope for a 20% growth that the construction market showed in 2019. However, the pandemic has made negative adjustments, and in the first seven months of this year, the decline in construction was already 4.6%, including in the housing construction sector – by 22%, and there is only a slight increase in infrastructure construction, Skilsky said.
According to the State Statistics Service, the production of Portland cement in January-July 2020 in Ukraine increased 3.7%, to 5.04 million tonnes, and clinker grew by 1.5%, to 3.9 million tonnes, including in July 2020 compared with July 2019, the growth was 5.9% and 12.2%, respectively.
The Interdepartmental Commission on International Trade has launched an antidumping investigation into the import of cement from Turkey to Ukraine.
The commission’s decision of September 2, 2020 to initiate an investigation comes into force from the moment of its publication, according to data on the Uriadovy Kurier edition’s website on September 5, 2020.
According to the report, the commission received a corresponding complaint from PrJSC Dyckerhoff Cement Ukraine, PrJSC Kryvy Rih Cement, PrJSC Mykolaivcement, PJSC Podilsky Cement, Cement LLC with the support of PrJSC Ivano-Frankivskcement.
According to the applicant, during the observation period (2017-2019), the dumping import of cement in absolute terms increased by 809%, in terms of consumption by 837%. In addition, the trend continues in 2020. According to the forecast, by the end of 2020 imports will increase by 1,815% and 2,547%, respectively. At the same time, prices for imported cement were lower than the prices of the applicant, and the growing volumes of imports forced him to reduce prices, despite the increase in cost.
Having considered the complaint, the authority concluded that import of cement from Turkey to Ukraine was carried out in volumes and on conditions that could cause damage to the national producer.
The Ministry of Economy has been instructed to conduct the antidumping investigation. Registration of interested parties is carried out within 30 days.
The Interdepartmental Commission on International Trade (ICMT) at a meeting on Wednesday decided to initiate an anti-dumping investigation into the import of cement from Turkey, and also established a single quota for imports of sulfuric acid, regardless of the country of origin.
“Members of the ICMT considered the liberalization of special measures regarding the import of sulfuric acid and oleum to Ukraine, regardless of the country of origin and export. In particular, it was decided to amend the current decision on the application of special measures by establishing a single quota for the import of sulfuric acid, regardless of the country of origin,” the Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture said on its website on Wednesday.
At the same time, the Ministry of Economy added that the ICMT will additionally consider the issue of further liberalizing the action of special measures.
Among the decisions of the commission is to terminate the investigation of the import of syringes regardless of the country of origin and export without the application of special measures, as well as to terminate investigations on the import of caustic soda, regardless of the country of origin without the application of special measures.
Antidumping duties on clinker and Portland cement from Russia, Belarus and Moldova introduced by Ukraine in the summer of 2019 served as an incentive to increase the load and production volumes of Ukrainian cement plants, market participants surveyed by the Interfax-Ukraine agency have said.
“We regard this step as positive, which allowed us to increase the load of enterprises and output of marketable products. Now our capacities are 90% loaded,” Mykola Kruts, the chairman of the board of PrJSC Ivano-Frankivskcement, told Interfax-Ukraine.
PrJSC Dyckerhoff Cement Ukraine agrees with his opinion. The company is witnessing the revival of market relations, the restoration of healthy competition and par prices for cement in the market, which creates conditions for further stable doing business.
“We consider the decision to impose duties on import of cement from the countries at dumping prices to be absolutely correct. This decision helped maintain a stable market position for Ukrainian producers, which, in turn, by developing their production, are able to satisfy the demand of all consumers in Ukraine. Otherwise, the dumping position of cement imported from Russia, Belarus, and Moldova could significantly worsen the financial results of PrJSC Dyckerhoff Cement Ukraine and lead to significant financial losses,” the company said.
In the eight months of 2019, the enterprise overfulfilled its plan for the growth of production volume by 17%, increasing the figure by 25% compared to the same period in 2018.
The growth of the company’s budget indicators this year is associated with cement supplies to various construction projects.
“In addition to deliveries to such a traditional sector as housing and commercial real estate construction, PrJSC Dyckerhoff Cement Ukraine also supplies cement for the construction of infrastructure facilities of national importance,” the company said.
In particular, the matter concerns the construction of a number of roads, a runway in Odesa, the reconstruction of the runway at Zaporizhia airport, the construction of wind power farms in Kherson and Mykolaiv regions, grain terminals, the development of berths in seaports, etc.
According to PrJSC HeidelbergCement Ukraine, in connection with the growth in cement sales, its production over the eight months of 2019 at Kryvy Rih plant rose by 14.7% compared to the same period in 2018 and amounted to 526,300 tonnes.
At the same time, the company notes that the production capacity is still low.
“Protection of Ukrainian producers against cement and clinker of Belarusian and Russian producers allowed to stabilize cement prices in the domestic market, but over the last three months, cement from Turkey aggressively entered the cement market, which, like Belarusian, is sold at low prices in the south and east of Ukraine. The state is obliged to protect domestic producers in the key sectors of the economy, this will allow enterprises to focus on the development of production, maintain jobs, improve work efficiency,” the company said.
According to HeidelbergCement Ukraine’s forecasts, cement production growth in Ukraine next year could reach 5-7%, provided that antidumping duties are maintained.
“The current political course of the country and the statements of the country’s leadership give hope for the development of the economy and, as a result, the construction market as a whole. As a result, we predict that the market growth in the next years will be 5-7%, which opens up the possibility of loading production capacities by 90-95%,” the company noted.
According to the company, there are currently ten cement plants operating in the Ukrainian market, the production capacities of which are 65% loaded, therefore each enterprise seeks to increase production, which significantly toughens competition.
“This year, the production capacities of PrJSC Dyckerhoff Cement Ukraine are 60% loaded of their design capacity. If there is demand in the market, the company is ready to increase production to the full utilization of design capacities,” the report says.
Ukraine in January-March 2019 increased cement production by 23% compared to the same period in 2018, Executive Director of the Ukrcement Association Roman Skylsky has said.
“In the first quarter of 2019, the growth of the construction market was already 24%, and cement production rose by 23%. Exports grew by 66%, imports by 2.8 times. These figures will obviously change after the introduction of a number of restrictive measures by the Ukrainian government regarding imports from neighboring markets,” he said during the international conference UkrCemFor 2019 in Kyiv.
According to the expert, cement production in 2018 decreased by 0.8%, which is associated with a slight drop in demand and the limited capacity of railway logistics, which accounts for 65% of all cement transportation.
“However, the year of 2018 showed a rise in clinker production by 4.3%, which means that producers have the reserves and resources to produce goods, but they decide not to manufacture final products due to a drop in demand or logistic restrictions on the delivery of goods to end consumers,” he explained.
The Ukrainian government has broadened its list of banned Russian commodities to include Portland, alumina, blast furnace, sulfate resistant, and similar types of neat cement, both dyed and non-dyed, ready-to-use or clinker, as well as plywood, veneered boards, and similar plywood materials.
The decision was made at a government meeting on Wednesday.
“It is prohibited to import into Ukraine such groups of Russian commodities as industrial goods, mineral fertilizers, agricultural products, and transportation vehicles, including cement and plywood,” the Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister and Economic Development and Trade Minister, Stepan Kubiv, said presenting the resolution.
According to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Ukraine imported almost $17 million worth of cement products from Russia in 2018, while plywood imports amounted to $19.7 million over that period.