China Fights Smog, Power Plants Switch to High-Grade Raw Materials

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It is time for some changes in China. “Chinese steelmakers and power plants are being forced to shop around for higher-quality raw materials to meet tougher air pollution standards, a move that will be a boon for global mining giants that produce premium-grade iron ore and coal,” reports Reuters.

“Beijing, under heavy public pressure to cut pollution after a series of hazardous smog crises in many major cities last year, has vowed to raise emission standards and shut polluters in big industrial sectors like steel, cement and power.”

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“The air pollution campaign could squeeze out iron ore suppliers from Iran, Mexico and Vietnam, but would be good news for others from Brazil and Australia, like Vale, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto as well as Australian coal exporters that supply top grade raw materials.”

“It could also undermine China’s efforts to diversify its sources of iron ore away from Australia and Brazil, which account for more than 70 percent of imports and – according to Beijing – have an undue influence on the way prices are set.”

In metal price news for stainless steel and nickel…

On Friday, January 24, the day’s biggest mover was the cash price of primary Indian nickel, which saw a 2.1 percent increase. After a couple of days of improving prices on the LME, the nickel spot price held steady at $14,630. Following a two-day rise on the LME, the nickel 3-month price flattened at $14,710.

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Chinese stainless steel closed mixed last Friday. The price of Chinese ferro-chrome saw essentially no change for the fifth day in a row. The price of Chinese ferro-moly held steady.

The price of Chinese primary nickel weakened by 0.8 percent. The price of Chinese 316 stainless coil continues to hover for the fifth day in a row. The price of Chinese 304 stainless coil saw little movement. For the fifth day in a row, the price of Chinese 316 stainless steel scrap remained essentially flat. For the fifth consecutive day, the price of Chinese 304 stainless steel scrap held flat.