This morning in metals news: Chinese auto sales picked up in September on a month-over-month basis; the Energy Information Administration forecast a significant jump in natural gas prices this winter; and, lastly, U.K. steel manufacturers are asking for government intervention in the ongoing energy crisis.
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Chinese auto sales rise
Chinese auto sales rose by 14.9% in September on a month-over-month basis, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported this month.
Sales reached 2.07 million vehicles in September. Meanwhile, the September total marked a 19.6% year-over-year decline.
For the year to date, sales reached 18.62 million vehicles, or up 8.7% year over year.
EIA: Natural gas bills could rise 30% this winter
The Energy Information Administration forecast natural gas bills this winter will come in 30% higher than last winter’s bills.
The EIA forecast households that primarily use natural gas for heating will spend an average of $746 this winter, or up 30% from last year.
“Higher retail natural gas prices are the primary driver for the expected increase in natural gas heating expenditures this winter,” the EIA said. “On average, retail natural gas prices in the United States are expected to rise from $10.17 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) last winter to $12.93/Mcf this winter, the highest price since the 2005–06 winter average. We expect the largest increase in retail natural gas prices to occur in the Midwest, where prices rise to $11.28/Mcf, a 45% increase compared with last winter.”
UK steel manufacturers seek government intervention in energy crisis
Lastly, speaking of rising energy costs, UK steel manufacturers are turning to the government for aid to help weather the situation, The Guardian reported.
Earlier this month, industry group Make UK said rising energy prices and lack of government intervention had created a “hostile environment” for industrial investment.
“Whilst the Business Secretaries swift intervention are to be commended, we must see the details of such a proposal, to assess whether these measures will be sufficient to deal with the immediate problems we face,” Make UK said. “For UK Steel and its members, the key measure of success for this proposal is whether it places UK steel producers on a levelling playing field on energy costs compared to the European counterparts.”
The group added there needs to be a mechanism to shield steel producers from “extreme wholesale price spikes.”
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