SHANGHAI, Apr 8 (SMM)—Operating rates of blast furnaces at steel mills dropped 0.3 percentage point from a week ago and 1 percentage point from a month ago to 84% as of April 8, SMM survey showed. Continuing environmental restrictions led to the decline in BF operating rates.
Operating rates of blast furnaces at Chinese steel mills
From April 1-4, the Ecological Environment Bureau of Tangshan notified a total of 48 environmental violation cases, and imposed penalties on a number of companies, with a cumulative fine of 19.2 million yuan. Four companies had their pollution discharge permits revoked and were ordered to suspend business due to online monitoring fraud. After that, central environmental inspection teams came to 8 provinces (regions) including Shanxi, Liaoning, Anhui, Jiangxi, Henan, Hunan, Guangxi and Yunnan for one-month inspection. Total amount of hot-rolled coil arriving at major markets stood at 219,600 mt this week, down 14.26% or 36,500 mt on the week, and it is expected to remain low in the near future. Meanwhile, demand has continued to improve. Coke prices started to rise after falling for eight times. Positive fundamentals supported steel prices. Rebar and HRC prices recorded new highs this week, but may drop amid rising risks.