China to slash steel, aluminium output in bid to check smog (Australian Financial Review/Reuters – March 2, 2017)

China has ordered steel and aluminium producers in 28 cities to slash output during winter, outlined plans to curb coal use in the capital and required coal transport by rail in the north, as Beijing intensifies its war on smog, a policy document shows.

The 26-page document dated February 17 and seen by Reuters did not include some stringent steps proposed in a draft policy to slash fertiliser output and introduce a full ban on coal being handled at Tianjin, one of the country’s busiest ports.

The government has called on steel producers to halve output in four northern provinces – Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong, Henan – as well as Beijing and Tianjin, during the peak winter heating months around late November to late February. The size of the cuts will depend on the level of regions’ emissions cuts.

The most active rebar on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell in the second session on Wednesday, down 1.2 per cent at 3522 yuan by 0210 GMT. Iron ore on the Dalian Commodity Exchange had dropped 1.2 per cent to 696.5 yuan a tonne by 0210 GMT.

On the Dalian Commodity Exchange, coking coal surged more than 4 per cent to 1311 yuan a tonne and coke futures jumped nearly 4 per cent to 1794 yuan a tonne, due to short supplies of the two major steelmaking ingredients.

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