Friday, February 01, 2008

Chinese steel mills cut production as power crisis from winter storms spreads

Winter storms that have paralyzed much of southern and central China are hitting the wider economy, as steel mills and other factories cut production amid shortages of coal and other materials.

Specialty steelmaker Hunan Valin Steel Tube & Wire Co., a local partner of industry leader ArcelorMittal, said Friday that it has suspended some production because of a shortage of power.

Scores of other steel mills, from southern China's Guangdong province to Xinjiang in the northwest, have cut or stopped production, according to the industry Web site

Hunan Valin, in a notice to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, said it expected power shortages to improve within days and that it was using the work stoppages to conduct maintenance.

Unusually heavy snow and prolonged cold have slowed transport systems, preventing deliveries of coal and other raw materials. Steelmakers and electricity generators are running short of coal, while power lines and transmission towers have collapsed, aggravating power shortages.

Full story at International Herald Tribune

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