Global Politics

Ukraine feels the pinch

The steel industry drives the Ukrainian economy: steel accounts for 40% of everything this country exports, so it's a vital source of foreign currency revenue, or at least it was. One of the foreman here in this plant shows me a giant furnace standing idle because of a drop in demand. This foreman says the situation is difficult but not hopeful but Ukraine's steel industry is the symbol of a global problem of falling prices and demand. All the foreman can do is react to the circumstances and he's already reduced his output by two-thirds. All across the industrial East of Ukraine production at steel plants is coming to a halt. I'm now visiting a family where three generations have been affected by the inactivity at their steel plant. The father and his wife both worked at the steel plant, and their 18 year old son, until their plant was shut down at the end of October. Now they're close to despair, says the father. This economist says the East of Ukraine is losing $40-50 million dollars and this could cause a social crisis.

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