SHANGHAI, Mar. 14 (SMM0 - The Environmental Protection Bureau will implement environmental protection inspections at the 128 major pollution dischargers in Tangshan from March 13-28.
Steelease sources report that the environmental protection team visited and inspected some medium-to-large steel mills before the Chinese New Year holiday, and none of them cut or suspend production. Environmental protection inspections will be implemented across Tangshan because Hebei province is domestic largest steel producing region, and its crude steel capacity is nearly 200 million mt/yr, which accounts for 25% of total domestic capacity. Besides, there are large numbers of steel producers in Tangshan, and local billet prices are reference for the market to forecast price trends and figure out production costs.
The implementation of environmental protection policies will curb steel output, and help ease supply surplus, and this will positively affect the market. But Steelease sources report the steel plants in Tangshan which have blast furnaces were not ordered to cut or suspend production. Steel plants including Songting, Jiujiang and Ganglu reported they were maintaining normal production and did not plan to suspend production. However, some plants produced with semi-products conducted maintenance. Haixin and Xincheng have suspended or cut output, and Xinhaixin plans to suspend production since March 14. Operating rates at the type of steel producers rose from 50%, to 65% after the Chinese New Year holiday. Operating rates at them are low. Besides, finished products have been unsellable recently, and raw material consumption has been slow, and combined with pessimism, some steel plants producing with semi-products began to sell billet, and this caused billet prices to fall.