Japan to Reform Electricity Sector; Chinese Cobalt Cathodes Keep Falling

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Japan is moving in the direction of reform. The country’s upper house passed legislation on Wednesday to start the most ambitious reform of its electricity sector since 1951, a process prompted by the Fukushima nuclear crisis that may end with the break-up of powerful regional monopolies,” reports Reuters.

“The reforms, including the establishment of a national grid and the liberalization of the power market for homes, are central to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to overhaul the economy, as high energy costs threaten to derail efforts to reverse decades of stagnation.”

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“The most ambitious phase of the reform envisages breaking the monopolies into separate generation and transmission companies by 2020 and abolishing price controls.”

The week’s biggest mover on the weekly Renewables MMI® was the price of Chinese cobalt cathodes, which saw a 0.5 percent decline. Last week marked the fourth in a row of declining prices for the metal. Silicon traded sideways last week. Neodymium prices held steady from the previous week.The price of Chinese steel plate did not change since the previous week.

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Japanese steel plate remained unchanged for the week. Following a steady week, prices for Korean steel plate closed flat. The week finished with no movement for Chinese steel plate. US steel plate remained essentially flat from the previous week.

For the fifth day in a row, US grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES) remained essentially flat.

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