October 11, 2018 / 10:06 AM / in a month

China's Tangshan orders steel mills to halve output for a week in smog fight

FILE PHOTO: Birds fly over a closed steel factory where chimneys of another working factory are seen in background, in Tangshan, China February 27, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s steelmaking hub of Tangshan has ordered mills to cut output by half from Oct. 11 to 18 due to forecasts of adverse weather, according to a city government document reviewed by Reuters.

The document, whose authenticity was confirmed by an official in the Tangshan environmental protection bureau, says normal winter curbs on heavy industry, in place since Oct. 1 , will continue even after the end of the week-long emergency controls.

Other temporary measures include ordering coal-fired power plants to reduce their loads, for coking plants to extend their coking process period, to reduce dust, and for miners to completely halt output.

Smog-prone Tangshan, located in northern Hebei province that surrounds Beijing, is one of 28 northern Chinese cities that are subject to industrial production restrictions during the winter months as part of a campaign to cut pollution.

The Chinese government has allowed the cities to determine the extent of the production cuts themselves, in a shift from last year’s blanket curbs.

In Tangshan, companies that meet ultra-low emissions targets are exempt from the winter cuts, which run until March 31, 2019. Other companies are required to reduce output by varying percentages based on their emission levels.

Chinese construction steel prices shook off early losses to end firmer on Thursday, after slumping as much as 2.1 percent in a broad commodities selloff that tracked plunging equities markets.

($1 = 6.9283 Chinese yuan)

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Tom Daly; Editing by Manolo Serapio Jr.

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