SHANGHAI, Dec 17 (SMM)—Operating rates of blast furnaces at Chinese steel makers edged up this week as some steel mills in Hebei restored blast furnace production as local Level II emergency response to heavy air pollution had been removed.
Operating rates of blast furnaces at Chinese steel makers
An SMM survey showed that the average operating rate of BFs at steel mills in China inched up 0.05 percentage point on the week to 87.75% as of December 17. This was 1.06 percentage points lower than the same period last year.
Last weekend, China Iron and Steel Association convened a number of iron and steel companies for discussions, and the Dalian Commodity Exchange also solicited opinions on regular adjustments of iron ore premiums and discounts and the addition of deliverable brands. Meanwhile, the state also took steps to curb thermal coal prices.
On Tuesday, spot and futures prices of steel rebounded amid upbeat economic data and production suspension and reduction at Zhejiang EAF mills caused by local power consumption restrictions. In the short term, expectations of output cuts at EAF mills resulted from restrictions on electricity consumption, Baosteel and Shougang Group raising prices for January 2021, and short supply in some areas underpinned steel prices. However, the government is expected to further strengthen control and regulations and demand is likely to stagnate as the weather turns colder. Steel prices are likely to fluctuate at high levels in the near term.