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Ukraine's imports of nickel ore down 14% on year in Q1

Kiev — Ukraine's imports of nickel ore and concentrate fell 14% year-on-year to 309,420 mt in January-March from 357,720 mt in January-March 2017, the state customs service reported Friday.

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The value of imports of nickel ore and concentrate decreased to $14.7 million from $17.2 million in January-March 2017.

Over the first quarter, Ukraine received 54.9% of the total imports of the commodity from Guatemala and 45.1% from Indonesia. Last year, Ukraine imported nickel ore and concentrate only from Guatemala, the customs service said.

In March Ukraine imported 76,940 mt of the commodity, down from 159,530 mt in March 2017 and down from 118,340 mt imported in February, the customs service said.

Nickel ore is a raw material for production of ferronickel (FeNi), which is used as an alloy addition in steel smelting.

In 2017, Ukraine's imports of nickel ore and concentrate decreased by 4.2% to 1.314 million mt from 1.372 million mt imported in 2016.

Ukraine's only importer of nickel ore and producer of FeNi, Pobuzhskiy Ferronickel Plant (PFP), is capable of processing 1.6 million mt of wet ore to produce about 100,000 mt of FeNi per year. PFP is exporting most of the output.

In 2017 PFP processed 1.28 million mt of nickel ore, down 9.8% year-on-year, while production of FeNi decreased to 72,500 mt from 79,900 mt in 2016, according to company.

--Alexander Bor, newsdesk@spglobal.com
--Edited by James Leech, james.leech@spglobal.com